The Oglethorpe men's tennis team traveled to Danville, Kentucky, Sunday to play Centre in their third SAA match of the season. Oglethorpe fought hard, eventually pulling out a well-earned 6-3 victory. The win improved the Stormy Petrels to 6-9 on the season overall and 2-1 in conference play.
In the doubles portion, Oglethorpe's No. 3 doubles tandem, sophomore Jacob Bertram and freshman Dustin Bowie, ground out a heart-filled doubles match. Bertram and Bowie started off strong, staying on serve until getting broken and eventually falling down 7-3. They fought back and brought the score back to 7-6, but were not able to keep the run going and lost 8-6. The No. 1 doubles duo of juniors Matthew Magee and Rhys Richardson started off strong, staying on serve and eventually breaking to win, 8-6. Playing No. 2 doubles was freshman Zoe Raymond and sophomore Michael Santaloci. They started off slow, falling behind 2-0 and fighting all match to try and regain the lead. Eventually they came back to take the lead, going up 5-4 and 40-love. Centre's No. 2 team came back to steal that game and go up 6-5. Santaloci and Raymond battled back, though, forcing a tiebreaker at 8-8. They went on to blow the Colonels out in the tiebreaker 7-0, giving Oglethorpe a 2-1 lead out of doubles.
Going into singles play the Petrels needed three wins to clinch the match. Raymond played No. 3 singles, putting a clean sweep on his opponent, 6-0 6-0. Bertram was next off the court, falling 6-0, 6-1 at No. 6 in a match that was closer than the scoreline would indicate. The Petrels were now up 3-2, searching for two more wins. Magee was able to produce another victory at No. 5, putting the Petrels up 4-2. He started off slow, losing the first game, but then proceeded to win the first set, 6-3. He continued that run of form through to the second, where he went up 5-0, eventually closing it out, 6-2. Santaloci then won the clinching point for the Petrels. He started out strong, taking the first set 6-0. He then continued that effort into the second, earning a 6-0, 6-3 win.
The Petrels had clinched the dual match, but Bowie was still involved in a tough, 3-set barnburner. After losing the first set 6-3, he came out with a lot of firepower in the second set, winning it 6-2 to force the decisive third, but eventually dropped the third 6-3. Richardson was stuck in a tough 3-set match, as well. He came back from down 5-3 to win the first set in a tiebreaker, 7-1, then answered his opponent's 6-3 second-set victory with a 10-5 win in the third-set super-tiebreaker.
"I was pleased with the performance our guys put out today," said Oglethorpe head coach Peter Howell. "This was a good test for us, and the team came through very well. This is a nice win to get, and will lead us into our all-important matches against Rhodes and Hendrix next weekend."
The Petrels will travel to Memphis, Tennessee, on Saturday to take on Rhodes at 10 a.m. Eastern before facing off against Hendrix in Conway, Arkansas, at the same time on Sunday.