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GO KNIGHTS Francesc Aulina helped the comeback with his singles win at No. 3.
Francesc Aulina helped the comeback with his singles win at No. 3.

March 13, 2014

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By Brian Ormiston

ORLANDO, Fla. ( - Trailing 3-0 against No. 27 Penn State, the No. 62 UCF men's tennis team stormed back to tie one of the best teams in the Big Ten at 3-3 before eventually falling in heartbreaking fashion, 4-3. It was just the third loss of the season for the Knights (8-3).

Penn State (12-2) opened up with a pair of doubles victories at No. 1 and No. 3 to take the early 1-0 lead. Matthew Gladstone and Francesc Aulina did lead the Nittany Lions' Chris Young and Michael Reilly at No. 2, 6-3, before the match was halted since the doubles point was determined.

PSU then captured singles victories at the top two spots to open a commanding 3-0 advantage. But UCF started its march, with Reece Acree flying past Marc Collado Castells at No. 6, 6-4, 6-2. Also grabbing a straight-set win, Aulina delivered a 7-6, 7-5, performance at No. 3 against Alex Fennell.

Now trailing 3-2, Inaki Espindola bounced back after dropping the first set to Roman Trkulja at No. 5, 6-3, to take the second set 6-3. In the decisive third set, Espindola pushed his opponent to a tiebreak where he used a second-serve ace to win 7-4, and stun Penn State which only moments ago was sitting comfortably ahead.

When Espindola pulled out his victory to make it 3-3, Chris Barrus was early in the third set against Matt Barry at No. 4. Both players traded breaks to ultimately reach 3-3. With Barrus serving, Barry found a rhythm and seized momentum, winning the next three games to give the visitors the deciding point, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-3.

The Knights have little rest to prepare for their next match as they will host UNC Greensboro Friday at 2 p.m.

No. 27 Penn State 4, No. 62 UCF 3
March 13, 2014

No. 1 #45 Leonard Stakhovsky/Russell Bader (PSU) def. Amar Hromic/Jesse Flores (UCF) 8-2
No. 2 Matthew Gladstone/Francesc Aulina (UCF) vs. Chris Young/Michael Reilly (PSU) DNF UCF led, 6-3
No. 3 Christian Lutschaunig/David Kohan (PSU) def. Chris Barrus/Inaki Espindola (UCF) 8-2

No. 1 #47 Leonard Stakhovsky (PSU) def. Matthew Gladstone (UCF) 6-2, 7-5
No. 2 Russell Bader (PSU) def. Amar Hromic (UCF) 6-2, 6-1
No. 3 Francesc Aulina (UCF) def. Alex Fennell (PSU) 7-6, 7-5
No. 4 Matt Barry (PSU) def. Chris Barrus (UCF) 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-3
No. 5 Inaki Espindola (UCF) def. Roman Trkulja (PSU) 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4)
No. 6 Reece Acree (UCF) def. Marc Collado Castells (PSU) 6-4, 6-2
Order of Finish: Doubles 1, 3. Singles 2, 1, 6, 3, 5, 4



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