April 25, 2009
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.-- Senior Miles Bugby notched a three-set, tiebreaker win at the No. 3 singles spot, giving the two-seeded, 43rd-ranked University of New Mexico men's tennis team (20-5, 4-2) a dramatic 4-3 win over the one-seeded, 38th-ranked TCU Horned Frogs (12-11, 5-1) in the MWC Championship match Saturday afternoon. The Lobos clinch their third MWC tournament title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Team Tournament.
"You can't ask for anything more than that," head coach Alan Dils said. "To have the match come down to a tiebreaker in the third set on our home courts with our home crowd, revenging a loss we had to TCU last year on their home courts. One goal we have had all year is to be able to go to the NCAAs. It is exciting."
Bugby handed 72nd-ranked Kriegler Brink a 6-7, 6-2, 7-6 loss, blanking Brink in the third set tiebreaker 7-0 as the Lobos notched their second straight season with 20-plus wins. The deciding championship round match between UNM and TCU in 2008 also depended on the No. 3 singles position. Brink had defeated Graeme Kassautzki in three sets for a 4-3 TCU win.
"We have been there before so I felt good," Bugby said. "The third set was up and down. I had my chances to win the set serving twice. I managed to keep pace. The big difference was we had our home crowd behind us, which really pulled us through. Our team is also really close and gets along well and that is key for team success."
The two teams went back and forth all afternoon with the doubles matches setting the tone early. Both Johnny Parkes and Bugby at No. 1 and Graeme Kassautzki and Joe Wood at No. 2 pushed their sets to 8-8. TCU had already secured a win at the No. 3 position, 8-5. Parkes and Bugby, who at one point had been up 7-4, let 40th-ranked Slah Mbarek and Brink steal the win, 9-7, as TCU captured the doubles point for an early 1-0 TCU win.
Two ties would ensue as freshman Carl Ho made it 1-1 with a quick 6-1, 6-4 win over Casey Powers at the No. 6 position. TCU countered at the No. 6 spot as Christopher Price defeated Phil Anderson, 6-2, 6-2.
Kassautzki made it 2-2, picking up a win over No. 114 Emanuel Brink at the No. 3 spot. Kassautzki pulled away with a 7-5 win in the first set and took the second, 6-3.
The remaining three matches would stretch to three sets, the first of which went in TCU's favor, a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 Zach Nichols win over Ben Dunbar at the No. 4 slot.
Parkes made it 3-3 and improved to 23-2 on the spring season by defeating 84th-ranked Mbarek at the No. 1 position. Parkes, who is ranked 79th in the nation and the 2009 MWC Player of the Year, dropped the first set 7-5, but swept the next two, 6-4 and 6-0.
The match point came down to Bugby and Brink, and like the entire match, came stretched as far as it could go. Bugby narrowly lost the first set 7-6 with a 7-1 tiebreaker, easily notched the second set 6-2, and pushed the final set to 7-6 before picking up seven straight points for the 7-0 tiebreaker win.
"We have worked so hard all season and this is just one of those moments in sports that you dream of," Parkes said.
The Lobos enter their 11th NCAA Tournament and first since 2004. The NCAA selection show will air Tuesday, April 28, at 3:20 MDT on ESPNNEWS. The first and second rounds of the tournament take place May 8-9.
#43 #2 New Mexico 4, #38 #1 TCU 3
1. #79 Johnny Parkes (NM) def. #84 Slah Mbarek (TCU) 5-7, 6-4, 6-0
2. Graeme Kassautzki (NM) def. #114 Emanuel Brighiu (TCU) 7-5, 6-3
3. Miles Bugby (NM) def. #72 Kriegler Brink (TCU) 6-7 (1-7), 6-2, 7-6 (7-0)
4. Zach Nichols (TCU) def. Ben Dunbar (NM) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
5. Christopher Price (TCU) def. Phil Anderson (NM) 6-2, 6-2
6. Carl Ho (NM) def. Casey Powers (TCU) 6-1, 6-4
1. #40 Slah Mbarek/Kriegler Brink (TCU) def. Johnny Parkes/Miles Bugby (NM) 9-7
2. #29 Emanuel Brighiu/Adrian Simon (TCU) vs. Graeme Kassautzki/Joe Wood (NM) 8-8, unfinished
3. Christopher Price/Zach Nichols (TCU) def. Ben Dunbar/Carl Ho (NM) 8-5