The NC State men’s tennis team was knocked out by Tennessee on Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Championships after a first-round win over Middle Tennessee Friday in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The Pack (19-11) took the Middle Tennessee matchup 4-0 started off by winning 2-of-3 doubles matches to secure the first point of the match. The pairing of seniors Ivan and Igor Saveljic got off on the right foot, winning 6-1, followed by a 7-6 victory in the third doubles match from sophomore Tadas Babelis and freshman Yannai Barkai.
The singles matches that finished all went in straight sets. No. 21 junior Alexis Galarneau took his matchup 6-1, 6-1, breezing through his opponent to put the Pack up 2-0 before senior Georgiy Malyshev (6-2, 6-4) and Barkai (7-5, 6-4) closed out the first round.
NC State lost the first set of the other three singles matchups before Igor Saveljic and Babelis tied their respective scores at one set apiece before the match was called.
The second round of competition was against the hosting Tennessee Volunteers, who advanced victoriously with a 4-2 win over NC State, ending the Pack’s season.
After Tennessee handily took the doubles point 6-3 and 6-3, it continued the success in singles despite a late push from the Wolfpack.
Barkai lost in straight sets to allow Tennessee to go up 2-0 but NC State won the next two points from Babelis (6-4, 2-6, 6-3) and sophomore Robert Turzak with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 comeback.
The turning point for Tennessee was a ranked matchup where Galarneau lost to No. 23 Timo Stodder (6-3, 2-6, 7-5) to get to a 3-2 lead.
The final matches were both in the third set but Tennessee’s No. 50 Adam Walton defeat Igor Saveljic 6-3, 6-7, 7-5 to clinch the match and send NC State home with a tight second-round loss.
"Heartbreaking loss today for our program," head coach Kyle Spencer told NC State Athletics. "It's such a tough deal on the road at the high level of college tennis. The guys did such a great job fighting back after dropping five first sets and then flipping the match to be in a position to win the match. Credit to Tennessee for not allowing us to be able to shut the door on the match.”
NC State’s dual-meet season has ended but Galarneau will be preparing for the NCAA Individual Championships from May 20-25 in Orlando, Florida.