Vashaun Newman
Men's Tennis

34th-ranked Roadrunners see historic win streak end in slugfest at No. 71 Rice

HOUSTON – The No. 34 UTSA Roadrunners (16-5) men's tennis team went toe-to-toe with No. 71 Rice on Saturday morning at the Owls' George R. Brown Tennis Center, slugging out a one-point decision that went blow-for-blow all the way down to the final tiebreaking set. Ultimately, with a 7-6 third-set victory on the fourth court, Rice clinched the 4-3 win and ended UTSA's run as owner of the nation's longest winning streak.
Before Saturday's loss, the Roadrunners reeled off a program-record 14 consecutive wins; this is UTSA's first loss in 55 days, dating back to Feb. 12.
The doubles finish proved consequential in the final scoring line, as the Owls became the first opponent in five matches to sway the first point away from UTSA. Dylan Heap and Kabeer Kapasi struck first on the third court with a 6-2 win over Miguel Alonso and Garrett Skelly. Firing back, Alan Magadan and Tiago Torres evened things up on the top flight with a 6-3 defeat of Wes Barnett and Trinity Grear. On two, the doubles point went to the Owls after Santiago Navarro/Campbell Salmon bested Tomás Pinho and Sebastian Rodriguez by a 7-5 score, granting Rice the early advantage.
The Roadrunners went up early in solos play, earning five first-set victories to get things trending in the right direction. On five, sophomore Danijal Muminovic tied the match via the first singles point, downing Salmon, 7-5, 6-1. Just minutes later, Magadan provided UTSA the lead on another two-set victory, besting Emir Sendogan on court two, 6-4, 6-3.
The remaining four courts saw rallies to force third sets and each team's bid for the overall victory became more and more dependent on each point added to the facility's scoreboard.
Pushing UTSA to its biggest lead, Jackson Ross overcame Kapasi's comeback attempt on courrt six, putting away the third set to push the Roadrunners ahead 3-1 on the 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 win. However, the Owls trimmed the deficit with a Barnett third-set comeback on three and then Grear topped court one in three to force the 3-3 match tie.
After Pinho won the tiebreak in the first set (4) over Navarro, the UTSA sophomore saw a 6-4 setback to force a third set, battling all the way to a 6-6 tie. Navarro separated from trading blows by breaking away from a 4-4 tiebreaker score to a 6-4 advantage. Pinho fired back to take it to 6-5, but couldn't land the final blow as Navarro secured the final point of the 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (5) win, awarding the match to Rice, 4-3.

Quoting Coach Sergey Avdeyev
"No doubt, it's a tough loss. It's disappointing that we broke our winning streak that way. We had many chances today starting in doubles, including two match points to win the doubles point, but could not convert. It was very similar in singles. I see some things we must improve. We need to take a day off and get back to practice working harder. Credit to the Rice team, they wanted to win more today."

Doubles Results
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2
1. Alan Magadan/Tiago Torres def. Wes Barnett/Trinity Grear: 6-3
2. Santiago Navarro/Campbell Salmon def. Tomás Pinho/Sebastian Rodriguez: 7-5
3. Dylan Heap/Kabeer Kapasi def. Miguel Alonso/Garrett Skelly: 6-2
Singles Results
Order of Finish: 5, 2, 6, 3, 1, 4
1. Trinity Grear def. Tiago Torres: 6-7 (8-100), 6-4, 6-0
2. Alan Magadan def. Emir Sendogan: 6-4, 6-3
3. Wes Barnett def. Sebastian Rodriguez: 1-6, 7-5, 6-4
4. Santiago Navarro def. Tomás Pinho: 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 7-6 (7-5)
5. Danijal Muminovic def. Campbell Salmon: 7-5, 6-1
6. Jackson Ross def. Kabeer Kapasi: 6-2, 5-7, 6-3

Up Next
That is the last regular season match on the current schedule for UTSA. The Roadrunners will have a 13-day gap before the start of the Conference USA Championships, coming back to this same venue, the George R. Brown Tennis Center, April 21-23.

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