CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The Drake University men's tennis team was defeated by No. 24 California in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Championship, Friday afternoon, by a final score of 4-1.
The Golden Bears took an early lead, winning the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles matches to take a 1-0 lead. After California took the first singles point, the Bulldogs made a push beginning with Calum MacGeoch's straight sets victory (6-2, 6-4) over Ben Draper at No. 4 singles to cut the Golden Bears' lead to just one point.
"I think everyone gave everything they had, so I'm pretty proud of this team," MacGeoch said after winning his match. "I'm very proud that I was a part of it. To come here and represent Drake in the NCAA Tournament and to play some of the top teams in the nation, it's been a good experience."
Two Bulldogs in the No. 2 and No. 3 matches, Tom Hands and Bayo Phillips, were in a good position to secure two more points, but California won the No. 5 and No. 6 matches to secure its third and fourth points.
"We're sad. We had five seniors, two of whom were in their fifth year," said Drake head coach Davidson Kozlowski. "So it's a sad day for these guys. All of them had great careers and led us to numerous conference championships. It's a sad day that this chapter of our lives has come to an end."
Barny Thorold was defeated in straight sets by California's Jacob Brumm, and in the No. 5 singles match, Ben Clark battled hard against Bjorn Hoffman in the first set but lost, 7-6, on a tiebreaker (7-4), before dropping the second set 6-1 which secured the 4-1 final for Cal at No. 6 singles.
The Bulldogs finished the 2019 season with a 19-14 record after making their 12th appearance in the NCAA Tournament in program history and third in as many years.
"My hat's off to those five seniors who really helped to put Drake in a good spot nationally and always represented this University with a great deal of sportsmanship and integrity," Kozlowski added. "This is what every team is looking forward to at the end of the year. It's a 64-team draw and everyone wants to be in this event. So for us to get here and have the opportunity to play in this event the past few years is a big deal."
1. Yuta Kikuchi (CAL) def. Vinny Gillespie (DRAKE) 6-3, 6-2
2. Jack Molloy (CAL) vs. Tom Hands (DRAKE) 4-6, 5-5, unfinished
3. Paul Barretto (CAL) vs. Bayo Phillips (DRAKE) 6-3, 2-6, 2-1, unfinished
4. Calum MacGeoch (DRAKE) def. Ben Draper (CAL) 6-2, 6-4
5. Jacob Brumm (CAL) def. Barny Thorold (DRAKE) 6-3, 6-1
6. Bjorn Hoffman (CAL) def. Ben Clark (DRAKE) 7-6 (7-4), 6-1
1. #28 Yuta Kikuchi/Jacob Brumm (CAL) def. Barny Thorold/Bayo Phillips (DRAKE) 6-3
2. Paul Barretto/Can Kaya (CAL) vs. Vinny Gillespie/Tom Hands (DRAKE) 5-4, unfinished
3. Jack Molloy/Ben Draper (CAL) def. Calum MacGeoch/Ben Clark (DRAKE) 6-3
Order of Finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (1,4,5,6)
NCAA First Round - Match 1