EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Jack Desse closed out the third set of his No. 6 singles match 6-0, lifting SIUE men's tennis to a 4-3 victory over Jacksonville State on Senior Day Saturday at the Edwardsville Y.
Desse, a sophomore, defeated Austin McCormick, 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 for the clinching point in the match.
"Jack did it again for us today," said SIUE Head Coach Jason Coomer. "I have to really give him credit for maintaining his focus and playing really smart against a savvy opponent. Jack is a great teammate and an asset to this team."
"I told the guys I couldn't be prouder of their effort today," he said. "Today was a great day for our team, and we are excited for the tennis we still have left to play."
SIUE will go on the road for their final two regular season matches. The Cougars travel to Morehead State next Friday followed by a Saturday match at Eastern Kentucky.
The doubles point could have been crucial to the match with Jacksonville State's Andres Gomez and Liu Shao Chun besting Gaffigan and Tristan Houle at No. 1 doubles 7-6 (8-6).
"We really could have let the doubles outcome affect us, but these guys were so focused today that they were not going to let one hurdle determine their fate," said Coomer.
Dan Lineberry was the lone Cougar to win in straight sets, defeating Shao Chun 6-3, 6-2 at No. 4 singles.
Gaffigan was the next Cougar to finish, coming from behind to beat Mathias Chaim at No. 3 singles 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
"Patrick really showed how much he has grown over the last four years," said Coomer. "After losing the first set he refused to leave today with a loss. That is the sign of a true leader and a senior in our program.
Houle earned a crucial point at No. 1 singles. He won their first set in a tiebreaker. After dropping the second set to Pedro Wagner, Houle outdueled Wagner 6-4 in the third set.
"Tristan was able to maintain his focus all day," said Coomer. "He was in a very tough position against a great player and at the end of the day he went out and fought for every point he got and even some he didn't."
Coomer also thanked the fans for their positive impact on today's match.
"Our team fought until the very end and really fed off the support and enthusiasm of the crowd," he said.