Men's tennis takes thriller

Alabama's No. 1 singles player Max Belski outlasted three match points from Ohio State's Vince Ng to secure a 4-3 Crimson Tide victory over the No. 24 Ohio State Buckeyes Friday night, moving the 14th-ranked Crimson Tide to 8-0 on the season, the best start in the program's history.

With his back against the wall at love-40, down 5-4 in the third set, Belski served his way out of the hole and never looked back. He broke Ng's serve in the following game, and served out to consummate the third-set comeback.

"I was just thinking about winning first point. I knew if I won the first one I had chance," Belski said. "(Assistant coach) Mario (Rincon) gave me some great advice and helped me to make the comeback. My teammates were yelling and screaming. They helped me tremendously, too."

No. 2 doubles squad William Boyles and Chris Gostek rallied to win the rubber-match in doubles play, fighting off three match points before winning a tiebreaker to take the match, 9-8. Alabama won the match at No. 1 doubles while falling 8-3 to the Buckeyes at No. 3 doubles.

"After the other matches had ended we knew it was up to us," Boyles said. "We just wanted to get ahead quick in the breaker and put them away. 'Goose' (Gostek) threw in a couple of good serves and it was easy from there."

Gostek, played at No. 3 singles also, and won his 15th and 16th consecutive sets, moving to 8-0 on the season. He is the only Tide player to play in and win every singles match on the season.

Although happy with the team's emotional character in the close match, Alabama head coach Billy Pate said there is no time to slow down with a tough match coming up.

"I'm pleased with the way our guys are competing, we're obviously match-tough," Pate said. "There are a number of things we need to work on, but you never take winning for granted. When you've won eight straight matches you're definitely doing something right."

Alabama plays Florida State in Tuscaloosa on Sunday at 1 p.m. Admission to all Crimson Tide tennis matches is free.

Alabama 4, Ohio State 3

Doubles
1. Mitchell/Hiscox (UA, #8) def. Wurtzman/Green (OSU) 8-3
2. Gostek/William Boyles (UA) def. Casey/Wilson (OSU) 9-8
3. Ng/Contini (OSU) def. Belski/Bradley Friedman (UA,#51) 8-3

Singles:
1. Maxim Belski (UA,#39) def. Vince Ng (OSU, #47) 6-4, 6-7, 7-5
2. J. Wurtzman (OSU, #7) def. Stephen Mitchell (UA, #63) 7-5, 6-2
3. Chris Gostek (UA) def. Conor Casey (OSU) 6-2, 6-3
4. Brenton Contini (OSU) def. Geoff Hiscox (UA) 6-3, 6-2
5. Christian Brodersen (UA) def. Kevin McLean (OSU) 6-2, 6-4
6. Ross Wilson (OSU) def. Michael Ray Pallares (UA) 6-3, 7-5


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