Third set haunts men’s tennis at Air Force

US AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Col. — Creighton’s men’s tennis team won the double point but lost three separate games in three sets in singles on Friday night in a 5-2 loss to Air Force.

Tonight’s game was the last in a long line of tight matches between the Bluejays and Falcons, as Creighton had won 4-3 in all three encounters over the past four seasons before Air Force (2-2) defeated Creighton (0- 3) on Friday. It was the Air Force’s first victory over Creighton since 2008.

“Another great game between these two teams,” said Creighton’s head coach Tom Lilly. “We were able to escape them at home the last three times, but this one went their way in the big moments. We have to have a short memory and be ready for another fight tomorrow morning.”

Creighton started the night well by earning the colon. After Stratton Brown and Zack Maline fell to No. 3 doubles on a 6-1 count, CU tied the score with a 7-6 win over the No. 2 slot thanks to a win by Jose Oscar Diaz and Shin Inoue to defeat Jonathan Mascagni and Arjun Kersten. The Jays won doubles for the first time this spring when Casey Ross and Matthew Lanahan outlasted Robert Baylon and Jordan Azuma, 6-4, in the No. 1 spot.

Air Force equalized when Nick Vroman sent Matthew Lanahan at No. 3 singles in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, only to have CU’s Brown help the Bluejays retake the lead with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Mascagni at No. 2 singles.

Air Force answered when Baylon defeated Ross 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 at No. 1 singles, leveling the match at 2-all.

Inoue cleared the first set (7-6) over Arjun Kersten at No. 4 singles before Kersten claimed a 6-4 win to need a third set. Inoue was allowed to serve for the game in the last set, but Kersten countered and eventually took a 7-6 victory.

Air Force took the match at No. 5 singles, where Justin Waldman overcame a first set hole to beat Diaz 7-5, 6-0.

After forcing a third set and with the outcome of the match already decided, Creighton’s Ethan Neil and Kyle Garner of the USAFA played a tiebreaker in the third set, which Garner won by a margin of 11-9 to cap off another tense game between the teams that lasted nearly four hours.

The Bluejays return to action on Saturday at Noon Central when they take on Grand Canyon (0-2). That competition will also take place at the US Air Force Academy.

2021-22 Creighton Men’s Tennis
Creighton vs. Air Force (Jan 21, 2022)

Air Force 5, Creighton 2
January 21, 2022 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Singles competition
1. Robert Baylon (AIR FORCE) def. Casey Ross (CU) 6-4, 3-6, 6-0
2. Stratton Brown (CU) def. Jonathan Mascagni (AIR FORCE) 6-3, 6-4
3. Nick Vroman (AIR FORCE) def. Matthew Lanahan (CU) 6-3, 6-2
4. Arjun Kersten (AIR FORCE) def. Shin Inoue (CU) 6-7 (6-8), 6-4, 7-6 (7-4)
5. Justin Waldman (AIR FORCE) def. Jose Oscar Diaz (CU) 7-5, 6-0
6. Kyle Garner (AIR FORCE) def. Ethan Neil (CU) 6-3, 2-6, 1-0 (11-9)

Match Notes
Creighton 0-3
Air Force 2-2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (3,2,1,4,5,6)

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