Down-to-the-wire wins mark UND men’s tennis season – Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS – UND and Oral Roberts were tied 3-3.

The key Summit League men’s tennis meet came down to a decisive match at No. 3 singles between UND’s Edmond Aynedjian and Oral Roberts’ Ignacio Vinas.

The match went into a third-set tiebreaker, where Aynedjian pulled it out in front of a home crowd in Choice Health and Fitness.

“Clinching a match after so many years of playing college tennis was an unbelievable feeling,” Aynedjian told the school’s website. “You just can’t buy this feeling. Super proud of my team and couldn’t ask for a better environment to grow as a tennis player. It was a match I will never forget and a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life. “

Aynedjian, a UND senior, didn’t have to wait long to do it again.

Less than a month later, UND’s meet with Illinois State was tied 3-3 and came down to Aynedjian at No. 2 singles. Once again, his match of him went to a third set. And once again, Aynedjian came through.

The Fighting Hawks have been clutch in key moments this season. They played in six meets that finished with a 4-3 score. UND won five of them.

“These guys have a very good ability to block out the score at the end of sets and matches and they are very comfortable playing their game,” UND coach Tom Boysen said. You very rarely see them change their game style when it’s 5-all in the third. They’re comfortable playing their game under pressure. “

Thanks to those key wins, UND is back in the Summit League semifinals for a second-straight season.

The Fighting Hawks, seeded No. 3, will take on second-seeded Drake at 6 pm Friday in Omaha. Top-seeded Denver, the league’s annual powerhouse, will take on Illinois State in the other semifinal.

UND has already set its Division-I record for wins this season with 12, thanks to its close victories.

Aynedjian won a pair of clinchers in 4-3 meets. Sophomore Riley O’Dell clinched UND’s 4-3 upset victory of Air Force on the road. The Fighting Hawks also earned 4-3 wins over Seattle and IUPUI.

“They’ve won the majority of really close matches,” Boysen said. “The clinchers and big matches and big results have come from a lot of different players at different times. The biggest thing is we’re a very good doubles team. I think we’d compete very well with a lot of Power Five teams in doubles, and the doubles point has become increasingly important. “

In addition to Aynedjian and O’Dell, the Fighting Hawks also have gotten key contributions from junior Gerhard Sullwald, sophomore Cian McDonnell, senior Nikita Snezhko and rookie Dylan Leeman.

“We have a natural advantage, because we’re so close between No. 2 and No. 6,” Boysen said. “I don’t think we have a drop off from 2 to 6 in level at all. I think we’ve got people in the right place, but we’re so close.”

Snezhko, Sela named all-Summit

Two UND tennis players earned all-Summit League honors.

Nikita Snezhko, a transfer from Iowa, was named the Summit League’s newcomer of the year. He also made the all-conference team.

Snezhko led UND in both singles and doubles victories. He went 14-5 in singles – 6-2 at No. 4 and 8-3 at No. 5 – while going 13-5 at No. 1 doubles with Gerhard Sullwald.

On the women’s side, sophomore Sapir Sela, who won the Summit League’s newcomer of the year honor a year ago, was named to the all-conference team.

Sela, who earned her undergraduate degree after just one year at UND and is currently enrolled in law school, led the team in both singles and doubles victories.

Sela went 14-8 at No. 1 singles and posted a 13-6 mark in doubles, pairing with Andrea Jansson for all but one match.

Fighting Hawks sophomore Sapir Sela returns a serve during a home singles tennis match against Omaha at Choice Health & Fitness in Grand Forks on Saturday, April 9, 2022.

Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

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