The Oglethorpe men's tennis team got their spring season off to a fantastic start Thursday afternoon at the Downing Howell Courts, as they defeated a solid Piedmont team 7-2 to improve to 1-1 on the season overall. The Stormy Petrels got solid contributions from up and down the lineup on Thursday against the Lions.
It started off with some outstanding play in doubles, as the Petrels earned a clean sweep to pick up a 3-0 lead headed to singles. The sophomore tandem of Richard Johnson and Michael Allen picked up a huge win at No. 1, defeating their opponent 8-6. Freshman Zoe Raymond and sophomore Michael Santaloci followed with an 8-5 victory at No. 2, while freshman Dustin Bowie and sophomore Jacob Bertram defeated their opponents 8-5 at No. 3.
The Petrels were able to settle into doubles with the big 3-0 advantage. That lead quickly turned to 4-0, as well, as Raymond made quick work of his opponent in the No. 3 slot, winning 6-1, 6-2. Johnson fought hard but fell to a tough opponent in the top singles match, 1-6, 6-2, 6-3, making the overall score 4-1, but Bowie clinched it in a 3-set marathon out of the No. 2 slot. He fought through fatigue to win the match 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.
As the dual match continued, Santaloci won the No. 4 match by a 6-3, 6-3 scoreline, while junior Matthew Magee won 6-4, 6-4. Allen fell 6-1, 6-2 at the No. 6 match, but the Petrels had already secured seven match victories as part of the dual match.
"I'm extremely pleased with how we played this match as a team," said Oglethorpe head coach Peter Howell, "especially with how freshmen Dustin Bowie and Zoe Raymond came up big for us in their matches. This is a team that will be able to fight and grind out tough victories, like we did across the board today. It looks like this team will have a lot of depth, which we kind of new going into the season, but I think that will be a very strong point of this team."
The Petrels return to the Downing Howell Courts on Saturday, when they host former conference opponent Rose-Hulman at 2 p.m. The two schools used to compete in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference before Rose-Hulman left in 2006 to join the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference and Oglethorpe left in 2012 to join the SAA.