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Top 25 Games of the Year: # 23 - UCF Men’s Tennis Comes Back vs. Penn State

Knights dig deep for key victory

Men’s Tennis Photo Courtesy UCF Athletics

On March 9th, the UCF Knights Men’s Tennis team was ranked 49th and hosting #36 Penn State and found themselves down 3-0 and staring at a loss at home, ending a six-match win streak. But UCF would not quit.

UCF mounted a rally, started by UCF sophomore Mikhail Sokolovskiy, who defeated Penn State freshman Jordan Nickerson 6-4, 6-2, followed by UCF freshman Trey Hilderbrand, who quickly followed to defeat Penn State senior Ben Lieb 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Grassi Mazzuchi was in a battle in his singles match against Penn State’s Gabriel Nemeth. Mazzuchi won his first set 7-6, and beat Nemeth 7-3 in the tie-breaker. After losing his second set 4-6, Mazzuchi regrouped and went on to own the third set, 6-1.

It would come down to UCF’s Alan Rubio, who was facing Penn State’s Christos Antonopoulos. Rubio took the first set, 7-6 (7-3). The second set was just as tight as the two headed to a tiebreaker once more with Antonopoulos winning a marathon tiebreaker 14-12.

With the match coming down to final set, Rubio would win 6-3 to complete UCF’s comeback win over Penn State.

The comeback by the Knights was the 8th win of the season, but was by far the most dramatic and Head Coach John Roddick was understandably very proud.

The Knights would end the season 15-11, making the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons and finishing ranked 31st on the final rankings.