Mladenovic, Avansino Win Singles Matches for Bearcats in 7-2 Loss to Loggers

Velibor Mladenovic sets up to hit a groundstroke.
Velibor Mladenovic (So., Belgrade, Serbia/First Belgrade Grammar School)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- Velibor Mladenovic (So., Belgrade, Serbia/First Belgrade Grammar School) won #2 singles for Willamette University and teammate AJ Avansino (So., Reno, NV/Reno HS) was victorious at #4 singles, but the Bearcats fell to the University of Puget Sound in a non-conference men's tennis match on Saturday night, Feb. 10 at the Salem Tennis and Swim Club. The Loggers improved to 2-0, while Willamette went to 0-2.

Mladenovic took #2 singles in a super tie-breaker played instead of a third set against Jason Rowe of Puget Sound. After Mladenovic won the first set, 6-2, Rowe claimed the second set, 6-3. In the super tie-breaker, Mladenovic outscored Rowe, 10-6.

Avansino won #4 singles in straight sets, but went into a tie-breaker with Noah Henderson in the second set. Avansino defeated Henderson, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).

The Loggers took a 3-0 lead in doubles. In the #1 doubles match, Henderson and Conor Blakeney downed Andrew Kabacy (Grad., Vancouver, WA/Skyview HS) and Quentin Nigbur (Sr., Newberg, OR/Newberg HS) of Willamette, 8-3. At #2 doubles, the PS team of Will Church and Brayden Sawyer outlasted Zack Olander (Fy., Bend, OR/Summit HS) of WU, 8-6. In #3 doubles, Rowe and Carson Ward defeated Willamette's team of Mladenovic and Andre Lief (So., Anchorage, AK/West Anchorage HS), 8-5.

At #1 singles, Rowe and Kabacy played an exceptional match that was decided in a super tie-breaker instead of a third set. Rowe prevailed in the first set, 6-3, but Kabacy responded with a 6-3 victory in the second set. Rowe took the super tie-breaker, 11-9.

Puget Sound also grabbed close wins at #3 and #5 singles. During the #3 match, Church downed Nigbur, 1-6, 7-6 (10-8), 7-5. At #5 singles, Matthew Zou defeated Olander in a super tie-breaker, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 10-3.

Matthew Merzbach of the Loggers moved past Trey Allen (Jr., Tucson, AZ/BASIS Tucson North HS) of WU at #6 singles. Merzbach won 6-1, 6-1.

Willamette will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 17 when the Bearcats will host California Lutheran University at the Salem Tennis and Swim Club. Match time is scheduled for 6 p.m. PST.