The Oglethorpe men's tennis team found themselves in a competitive match Saturday morning against the regionally-ranked Birmingham-Southern Panthers, which featured three 3-set contests. However, the Panthers were able to come away with a 7-2 victory in the end, dropping the Stormy Petrels to 7-12 on the season overall and 3-4 in SAA play. That conference mark assured Oglethorpe of finishing in fifth place in the SAA.
The Petrels fell behind 3-0 early, as they dropped all three doubles matches to the visiting Panthers. Sophomore Michael Santaloci and freshman Zoe Raymond fell in a competitive 8-5 matchup at the No. 3 line, while the other two doubles tandems lost 8-1. Junior Rhys Richardson and sophomore Richard Johnson fell at No. 1, while freshman Dustin Bowie and sophomore Jacob Bertram fell at No. 3.
In singles, Richardson earned a big victory on the top line, taking his opponent to three sets and then earning the victory. He won 7-5 in the first before his opponent came back with a 6-4 win in the second. However, Richardson won a 10-8 super-tiebreak to take the 3-set match. Santaloci also took down his No. 4 match in three sets. He won the opening stanza 6-3, then fell 6-2 in the second set. He came back in the 10-point tiebreaker, though, winning it 10-7 to secure the Petrels' second victory of the morning. Raymond was also involved in a 3-set match with a 10-point tiebreaker in lieu of the third at No. 5. He took the first set 6-4, but dropped the second 6-0 before falling in a tight 10-8 tiebreaker for the match.
Junior Matthew Magee fell in a 7-2 tiebreaker in the opening set at No. 6, then dropped the second 6-4. Bowie fell 6-4, 6-1 at No. 2, while Johnson fell 6-0, 6-4 at No. 3.
"Birmingham-Southern was just too strong for us today," said Oglethorpe head coach Peter Howell, "but I thought we fought hard all day. We'll take that mentality into the SAA Tournament next weekend."
The Petrels will now head to Burns Park Tennis Center in North Little Rock, Arkansas, for the SAA Tournament next weekend. They'll get started Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern, when they'll hold the No. 5 seed and will take on the same No. 4 seed Birmingham-Southern team in the tournament's first round.