ASU men's tennis defeated by Duke in its returns to the courts

The Sun Devils were back in action on Saturday after a 10-year hiatus

The ASU men’s tennis team was back in action on Saturday after a 10-year hiatus and played against the Duke Blue Devils — the same opponent they faced in their last match in 2008. The Sun Devils battled hard but ultimately lost to the Blue Devils, accepting the same fate the team was dealt during the 2008 NCAA tournament.

Duke took an early lead with doubles wins on courts two and three. Senior Michael Geerts and sophomore Baonoromandresy Rakotomalala won their doubles match against senior Nick Stachowiak and freshman Sean Sculley, 6-2. However, Duke ultimately secured the doubles point.  

“The team that played the two doubles won the regional championships in the fall, beating everybody in this part of the country," head coach Matt Hill said. "The fact that they lost 6-1, it was nerves. ... They were so amped up about the match today, they’ve been building it up in their heads.”  

Despite Duke being in the lead, the Sun Devils battled in each and every one of their singles matches.

With ASU shutouts on courts two and four, it was up to Geerts and freshman William Kirkman to win their match that would ultimately secure the ASU win. 

Geerts played on court one against junior Nicolas Alvarez and won his first set, but failed to capture the second and third. Alvarez came away on top 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. 

“It was a little disappointing to lose today and my first college match. But tomorrow's another day, and there's a lot more matches to come, so it’s a matter of getting mentally back out there and start fighting again,” Geerts said. 

Although Duke secured the win after Alvarez defeated Geerts, it didn’t stop Kirkman from giving his all until the last tiebreak. Playing against junior Ryan Dickerson, the two dueled it out until both had a set win under their belt – 1-6, 6-3 respectively.

The final set became a nail biter, with the final set score of 7-6 eventually going in favor of Dickerson. 

Losing aside, the Sun Devils had a packed stand filled with many of the last ASU men’s 2008 team.

ASU will look to bounce back during its next match against Texas A&M on Sunday, Jan. 14. Match play is set to begin at 1 p.m. MST. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @sophiabriseno on Twitter.

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