Turning points go hosts’ way in 6-3 win
GOSHEN, Ind. — The Goshen College men’s tennis team picked up its fourth Crossroads League tournament semifinal berth in five years on Tuesday with a 6-3 win over Grace College at the John Ingold Athletic Complex.
Martim Cafe and Josh Friesen each won twice for the Maple Leafs (10-2), with Friesen getting his wins in the first match to come off the courts in each segment and Cafe clinching the team victory just before 7:30 p.m. local time.
Goshen and Grace each made quick work of one doubles match, with Friesen and Luke Rush posting an 8-4 win in about 35 minutes at no. 3 doubles to put the hosts up 1-0 before Grace leveled with the no. 2 win moments later.
Cafe and Danny Boussom pulled away with two late breaks in the no. 1 doubles match, breaking for a 7-3 lead when a Lancer was called for reaching across the net with his racket before Cafe held at 40-15 to claim an 8-3 win.
The doubles results meant that Grace (7-6) needed four of the six singles matches to complete its comeback and reverse the regular-season result from September 6. Instead, Goshen took leads of 5-2 or better in five of the six matches. Friesen, Evan Beck and Kartikeya Sharma finished off their first sets handily while Grace’s Pavle Popovic posted a 6-2 win in his opener at no. 2 singles.
On the other hand, if taking the lead and finishing the match were easy, everyone would do it. The Lancers climbed out of one 5-2 hole, getting five straight games from Max Rozas to win the first set at no. 1 singles, and a 6-0 hole, as Lucas Fonseca leveled the no. 6 match.
As all of that was happening, Cafe finished off his first set on the middle court of the south half of the complex, but Jacob Gray also took a 4-3 lead on Friesen at no. 5.
Again, a five-minute span would be the spark to push Goshen over the top, with Sharma breaking to seize control of his match as Ciudad broke to work the no. 2 contest back toward level. Finally, Friesen wrested control away from Gray’s service game and consolidated with a hold of his own, taking the last three games of the match for a 6-1, 7-5 win.
Sharma and Rozas both finished their straight-set wins with 6-2 and 6-3 wins, respectively, over the next 10 minutes, leaving the Maple Leafs up 4-2 and one more win away from the semifinals. Cafe’s second straight 6-2 set sealed the victory.
With the team match decided, when Ciudad and Popovic needed a third set, they played a 10-point tiebreaker, which saw Ciudad use a forehand winner to take a mini-break at 8-7 and finish off the match with two more points. Lucas Fonseca got the win for Grace in the last match off at no. 6 singles.
Third-seeded Goshen will visit second-seeded Marian on Thursday in a semifinal. The other semifinal will pit top-seeded Indiana Wesleyan against Spring Arbor or Huntington, whose match was rained out Tuesday.
Quoting GC director of tennis Evan Atkinson:
“I am very proud of our guys for fighting hard against a very talented Grace team. We knew that we would be in for a fight on each court and the match did not disappoint. Our doubles play was solid and we got big wins out of Josh and Kart before Martim was able to clinch the match. I’m always happy with our effort and we’ll look to stay focused throughout our matches against Marian on Thursday.”
1. Max Rozas (Grace) beat Danny Boussom 7-5, 6-3
2. Juan Miguel Ciudad (Goshen) beat Pavle Popovic 2-6, 6-4, (10-7)
3. Martim Cafe (Goshen) beat Diego Zamora 6-2, 6-2
4. Kartikeya Sharma (Goshen) beat Arturo Fonseca 6-3, 6-2
5. Josh Friesen (Goshen) beat Jacob Gray 6-1, 7-5
6. Lucas Fonseca (Grace) beat Evan Beck 0-6, 6-4, 6-1
1. Boussom/Cafe (Goshen) beat Gray/Popovic 8-3
2. Rozas/Zamora (Grace) beat Ciudad/Sharma 8-3
3. Friesen/Luke Rush (Goshen) beat Connor Bates/Caleb Yoder 8-4