Michigan State men’s tennis was dominated by the #25 Arizona State Sun Devils, losing 7-0.
In doubles, the Sun Devils made quick work of the Spartans, securing the doubles point before the third match could even conclude. The MSU pairing of John Carlin and Anthony Pero was quickly defeated by #18 Tim Ruehl and Andrea Bolla on a 6-1 score, leaving it to the other doubles pairs to make something happen.
For the Spartans, that moment never came, as Arizona State continued to roll by defeating Josh Mukherjee and Kazuki Matsuno 6-3, clinching the doubles point for the Sun Devils. The match between Jarreau Campbell/Drew Keene and William Kirkman and Tom LeBlanc ended on a 5-3 Sun Devils advantage due to the doubles point already being clinched.
“I thought we prepared well,” coach Gene Orlando said. “A lot of credit to Arizona State, they got a good quality team. We battled hard and they just came up with some good shots.”
The saying “When it rains, it pours” could not explain this match any better as the domination from Arizona State continued into singles where the Sun Devils started off by winning their first set, almost ensuring victory in the match at that point.
Sophomore Carson Gates, after getting blanked 6-0 in the first game, came back in a big way in the second game. He flipped the script of his match by knotting it up at 6-6 going into the extra period, on the behalf of a hit that went long by Sun Devil freshman Christian Lerby.
Despite the valiant comeback effort, Gates came up short as Lerby dominated the extra set, winning 7-0.
A lone bright spot for the green and white was Campbell in singles, as he was the only one on his team to actually win a game in their matches. Campbell was crushed in the first game 6-2, but then bounced back in a big way by flipping the score and winning 6-2.
In the third period, Campbell had a chance to prevent the sweep in the extra game but fell short, losing it 6-4. Coach Orlando was pleased with how the freshman battled.
“I think he continues to get better each week, and it’s really good to see the growth in his game,” Orlando said. "He stuck to his game plan and almost pulled it out.”
In the other matches, the Sun Devils continued the onslaught, as Mukherjee fell to LeBlanc 6-3, and 7-6. Mukherjee had a chance to secure a win in the second game as he led in the extra set, but fell short and dropped another point to the Sun Devils. Carlin, Pero, and Matsuno were all crushed by their opponents, as none of them were able to win a game.
Despite a rough start, Orlando was pleased with how the team began to battle back.
“Obviously it was a tough start, but I was really impressed with how the guys battled back in the second set," he said. “I thought we made a little bit of a run, but we gotta get off to a good start.”
The Spartans will look to get back on track against their rival Michigan on Feb. 14 in Ann Arbor.