Konarske, Tech men’s tennis digs deep for close win

HOUGHTON – Jimmy Konarske fought off five match points and overcame a 5-1 third-set deficit to claim a 2-6, 7-6 (6), 7-5 victory and propel Michigan Tech to a 5-4 win in GLIAC men’s tennis Friday at Gates Tennis Center. As a team, the Huskies won three matches that went to three sets including each of the final two on the courts.

“This was a big win for us,” said Tech coach Kevin Kalinec. “It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to battle back like that and gut it out. I’m extremely proud of the guys today.”

Tech led 2-1 after doubles, but suffered losses at the top two singles spots to fall behind 3-2.

Each of the final four matches on the courts went to three sets. The Huskies claimed three of the four to snap a five-match skid and extend their hopes of a GLIAC Tournament berth.

Built Yumuang won his first set at No. 4 singles, but was forced into a third set. He eventually won 6-0, 4-6, 7-5, to knot the team score at 3-all.

The No. 3 singles match between Tech’s Pedro Rodriguez and UF’s Djordje Ljubinkovic was a back-and-forth affair. Rodriguez lost the first but won the second set. For the second straight match in a row, the senior fell by two points in a third-set tiebreaker. The final score was 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (5).

Trailing 4-3 in the team score and behind by a set in each of the two final matches, Tech’s hopes looked slim. Nick Kremkow turned around a 6-3 loss in the opening set into a 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory at No. 5 to even the match.

Konarske then worked his magic. He scrapped his way to a third set by fending off match points in the second-set tiebreaker before winning it 8-6. He then won six consecutive games in set three for a 7-5 triumph.

Michigan Tech, which is now 9-7 overall and 4-5 in GLIAC play, will host two more matches this weekend. Next up is Ohio Dominican today at 10 a.m.