Men's Tennis Finishes Fourth At Horizon League Championships|
April 25, 2004
Indianapolis, Ind.- It was a tough-luck match for the second straight day for the UIC men's tennis team, as Cleveland State captured a slim 4-3 win in the Horizon League Men's Tennis Championship third place match on Sunday at Indianapolis' North Central High.
The Flames finished the season fourth in the league as a result of the loss.
UIC was without usual No. 1 singles player and All-Horizon League First Teamer Artsem Burmistrau, who was sidelined for the second time in three matches due to injury.
Burmistrau was able to play doubles, but was held out of singles as a result of a stiff shoulder. The Horizon League Newcomer of the Year was also riddled with an ankle sprain.
The Flames were able to take the early lead after snaring the doubles point for the third consecutive tournament match. Burmistrau and Karol Zarucki downed Eric Winn and Jay Tee in an 8-5 win, while Pat Zufan and John Cincola defeated Paul Haley and Jordan Reynolds by an 8-4 count.
Two of UIC's three singles losses on the day were in three sets, with both tiebreakers decided by one point.
UIC Head Coach Hans Neufeld was disappointed with the result, but the third-year general was upbeat about the strides his team made and how close the Flames were from winning.
"We lost six tiebreakers, and if we win any one of them we would have won the match," said Neufeld. "Close, but no cigar."
"Doubles was awesome," continued Neufeld. "They played tough. The big factor...it went down to tiebreakers. Being injured didn't help."
Neufeld was still amazed over the way Burmistrau, Zarucki and Cincola played through pain. Zarucki missed time near the end of the regular season due to leg ailments, while Cincola battled through a hand injury.
"Every match [Burmistrau] played was gutsy," Neufeld said. "A lot of injuries, guys still battled. Our guys battled hard."
Neufeld, who loses only Cincola to graduation, will boast a young team in 2005 that was one point away from second place, having lost to UW-Green Bay on Saturday by the same 4-3 score.
"The positive thing is that all but one of these guys are back," said Neufeld. "They kind of have a chip on their shoulders. Gotta win the tight matches."