Air Force Flies to Thrilling Victories
Falcons sweep Army in a special military edition of College MatchDay
Brian Ormiston and Taylor Linton | February 16, 2019
It was an evening college tennis fans will never forget as Air Force and Army delivered a memorable College MatchDay at the USTA National Campus on Feb. 16.
When the Air Force men clinched a dramatic 4-2 victory and dog-piled on top of each other, they got up quickly and hurried down two courts to support the women. A few seconds later, the heart-pounding match came to a close with Air Force edging Army, 4-3, and celebrated with a massive Gatorade shower.
“This is what college tennis is all about,” said Air Force women’s head coach Kim Gidley. “It was really fitting for us because it came down to the last match, and to have a senior (Elizabeth Barnickel) playing for that, and the fact she was down in both sets and fought back … Army gave us everything they had and we knew they would, we have the upmost respect for them.
“Having the USTA host us here with the venue, the atmosphere, the fans and some former players from 20-years ago that wanted to come to this, this grows tennis and makes it a fun sport with the men and women playing at the same time.”
The evening got underway with a festive atmosphere. At the conclusion of the national anthem, sung by 2nd Lietenant Jocelle Rudico who is a 2017 graduate from the United States Air Force Academy, a pair of A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft owned the skies in a memorable military flyover. It was possibly the first planned flyover for a college tennis match in the history of the sport. Click Here to read more about the flyover and the national anthem.
When play got underway, the electric fan base witnessed some amazing theater as the men and women of Army both took a 1-0 lead after doubles. Action heated up even more in singles, where the Air Force men (8-4) climbed out to a 3-2 advantage before Luke Sanderson squeaked out a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 victory over the Black Knights (1-6) to start the Falcons’ party. And when Barnickel came through with a tight 7-6, 7-6 win against Army (7-4), it kept the Air Force women’s undefeated season alive at 12-0.
“That was an amazing college match and something I’ve never been a part of before, a double-dual with men and women and just to have the support of the fans and alumni,” said Air Force men’s head coach Dan Oosterhous. “These are two American teams competing against each other, it was so special. Either team could have won, we were very fortunate.
“The USTA National Campus did a great job as a host. Everything was prepared for us so we could focus on our players. When our players came on the court, they were rested and they were ready. It was a great experience for us.”
An encore presentation of the match will air on Tennis Channel on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Fans from schools in the Sunshine State will love the last two College MatchDays on the schedule. Up next, the women of Florida and UCF take the courts on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 5:30 p.m. followed by the men of Miami and UCF on Sunday, March 3, at 5 p.m. Both matches are slated to air live on Tennis Channel.
For College MatchDay ticket information, click on Ticketmaster.com.
Women – Air Force def. Army, 4-3
No. 1 Caroline Vincent / Stephanie Dolehide (Army), 6-2
No. 2 Ashley Harvey / Meredith Jones (AF) def. Paola Bou / Genevieve McCormick (Army), 6-0
No. 3 Kirby Einck / Sam DiMaio (Army) def. Elizabeth Barnickel / Nadeen Lieberman (AF), 6-4
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3
No. 1 TJ Fumagalli (AF) def. Ana Joyner (Army), 6-3, 6-3
No. 2 Elizabeth Barnickel (AF) def. Caroline Vincent (Army), 7-6, 7-6
No. 3 Meredith Jones (AF) def. Kirby Einck (Army), 6-2, 7-6
No. 4 Stephanie Dolehide (Army) def. Kristin Kerrigan (AF), 7-5, 6-1
No. 5 Paola Bou (Army) def. Ashleigh Harvey (AF), 7-6, 6-1
No. 6 Nadeen Lieberman (AF) def. Sam DiMaio (Army), 6-4, 6-4
Order of Finish: 6, 1, 4, 5, 3, 2
Men – Air Force def. Army, 4-2
No. 1 Tadhg Collins / Patrick Sklenka (AF) def. Myles Conlin / Nikita Larichev (Army), 6-3
No. 2 David Gorshein / David Mitchell (Army) def. Robert Baylon / Isaac Perez (AF), 7-5
No. 3 Diego Huttepain / Alejandro Quiros (Army) def. Jamie Bautista / Paul Hendrix (AF), 6-3
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2
No. 1 Patrick Sklenka (AF) def. Myles Conlin (Army), 6-4, 7-6
No. 2 Luke Sanderson (AF) def. David Mitchell (Army), 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
No. 3 Paul Hendrix (AF) vs. Nikita Larichev (Army), 6-2, 5-7, 5-2
No. 4 Diego Huttepain (Army) def. Tadhg Collins (AF), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
No. 5 Robert Baylon (AF) def. David Gorshein (Army), 6-2, 6-0
No. 6 James Scotty (AF) def. Anant Mundra (Army), 6-1, 6-2
Order of Finish: 5, 6, 1, 4, 2
2019 College MatchDay
Feb. 2 – Florida def. Florida State (Men), 4-1
Feb. 9 – Tennessee def. Duke (Men), 4-0
Feb. 16 – Air Force def. Army (Men), 4-2 – Air Force def. Army (Women), 4-3
Feb. 24 – Florida vs. UCF (Women) – 5:30 p.m.
March 3 – Miami, Fla. vs. UCF (Men) – 5 p.m.
*All Times Eastern and Subject to Change