Wisconsin upends Maryland in front of raucous home crowd

Wisconsin emerged victorious in its two most recent home matches.

Image By: courtesy of UWBadgers.com

A nail-biter at Nielsen Tennis Stadium Sunday afternoon saw the Wisconsin Badgers (2-1 Big Ten, 8-7 overall) take down the Maryland Terrapins (0-2, 6-7) by a score of 5-2 just two days after blowing past Rutgers 7-0.

The Badgers’ men’s tennis team was part of a large crowd at Nielsen ahead of the Big Ten showdown, supporting their female counterparts. At many points throughout the match, they led their signature “go red, go white” chant. Every ounce of support seemingly made a difference.

UW got off to a slow start, losing the doubles point early. Freshman MaryAnn Rompf and senior Kelsey Grambeau fell to Millie Stretton and Eva Alexandrova 6-2, before freshman Lexi Keberle and sophomore Melissa Pick lost to Ekaterina Tour and Kat Yemelyanenka 6-1.

UMD’s lead didn’t last for very long, though. Wisconsin’s veterans, Grambeau and redshirt junior Sara Castellano, quickly gained momentum back in singles by jumping to 4-0 leads. Grambeau continued her hot start and tied it up for UW, winning 6-2, 6-3.

Sophomore Michelle Linden blew past Saya Usui 6-1, 6-4, capped off with a thunderous volley to secure the win and give the Badgers the lead, Maryland quickly tied it back up with Millie Stretton’s victory over Rompf, 6-3, 7-6.

Tied at 2-2, the tense crowd got louder and louder. Head coach Kelcy McKenna could be seen intensely instructing her three remaining players, Castellano, Keberle and Pick, as UW tried to pick up its second consecutive win.

In a thrilling, back and forth three set match, Castellano battled Ekaterina Tour, finally defeating her 6-1, 3-6, 6-4. Castellano invigorated the crowd with a huge “Vamos!” after the win.

Now up 3-2, all eyes were on Keberle and Pick. After losing the first set 2-6, Keberle clawed her way back, eventually securing the win for the Badgers after she won a 7-2 third set tiebreaker. She finished her match with a score of 2-6, 6-3, 7-6.

“I’m really proud of both Lexi and Sara and our whole team in general for just trying to be a little more resilient” McKenna told UWBadgers.com.

Already with the victory, the Badgers turned their attention to Pick, who was still playing. Pick was winning 7-5, 3-6, 3-2 after Keberle’s clincher. Shouts of Pick’s classic “let’s go, come on” could be heard from court five as she ended things at Nielsen, winning the last set 6-3 to give Wisconsin a 5-2 victory.

After being away from home for such a long time, the Badgers definitely enjoyed playing in front of their home fans.

“For us it’s just nice to be at home for two matches in a row after being on the road for so long. To play in front of people who really support Badgers women’s tennis, we’re really grateful” McKenna said.

After seven straight losses, UW bounced back with two huge wins over Rutgers and Maryland over the weekend. Wisconsin travels to West Lafayette to play Purdue on March 23. It’s hoping to build off of this past weekend’s momentum.

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