MOBILE, Ala. - Tried as it might, Union couldn't get past seventh-seeded Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) as the Bulldogs fell 5-2 in the second round of the 2011 NAIA Men's Tennis National Championship Tournament on Wednesday at the Mobile Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala.
The final tally might be 5-2, but it doesn't begin to tell how close the match was. All but one finished set in singles play was decided by more than three games. In addition, the match was the final men's match to be finished, running so long that the women's matches had already begun.
"I can't be more proud of the effort the guys gave out there on the court today," said head coach Daniel Finn. "I told them they would have to leave it all out there and even bleed out on the court, and some of them literally did as they scaped their knees diving to make plays."
Point Loma Nazarene (16-7 overall) took two of the three doubles matches, winning 8-4 and 8-3. Yvon Haessig (Vancouver, Canada) and Gilles Cornelis (Wijnegem, Belgium) scored the Bulldogs' lone doubles point with an 8-4 victory.
In singles play, Bartos Micher (Junginen, Germany) netted Union's only singles point with a 7-5, 6-3 decision over D.J. Jaehnig. Pierre Vernin (Le Coteau, France) put up a valiant effort despite playing with shingles. Vernin dropped the first set to K.C. Ensley 6-2, but he fought back to win the second 6-3. However, Ensley pulled out the win with a 6-4 decision in the third and final set.
"It's hard to feel pleased after a loss, but I could not be more proud of how we played today," said Finn. "They didn't hold anything back and gave Point Loma all it could handle. I couldn't ask for anything more than that."
With the loss, Union ends the season with an 18-6 overall record. The 18 wins are tied for second most in program history.