Mar 06, 2018
After digging themselves a hole and falling behind early, the Oglethorpe women's tennis team made a valiant comeback Tuesday evening at Fort Gatlin Tennis Center in Orlando, Florida, only to fall a point short, as they dropped a 5-4 decision to NAIA opponent Aquinas.
After dropping all three doubles matches, the Petrels found themselves in a 3-0 hole. After losing at No. 4 singles, the Petrels trailed 4-0 and Aquinas' lead seemed insurmountable.
However, the Stormy Petrels did not quit. Sophomore Taylor Cranford got the squad on the board with a thrilling 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (13-11) win at No. 3 singles. Junior Shannon Cruz soon followed with a win at No. 2 singles to cut the Oglethorpe deficit to 4-2. Freshman Lisette Phillips won at No. 5 to make it 4-3, keeping the Petrels alive.
With the Petrels leading at No. 6 and in a battle at No. 1, the near-impossible feat of coming down from a 4-0 deficit in a dual match to win seemed more than plausible. Unfortunately, sophomore Hannah Dattillo lost in a third-set super-breaker at No. 1, allowing Aquinas to secure their fifth point and with it, the victory. Freshman Ella Bielicki picked up a win at No. 6 to make the final tally 5-4.
Oglethorpe head coach Peter Howell had this to say after the match: "I was extremely pleased with the heart and guts we showed, as we never gave up in spite of adversity, and almost pulled out a win after being down 4-0! This was a terrific effort that just came up short. I am very proud of the girls! This level of effort and determination will get us far as the season progresses."
The loss dropped the Petrels to 2-4 on the season. They will play their final match of the spring break trip Wednesday morning at8 a.m., when they head to Oak Street Park in Kissimmee, to take on Oneonta. After that, they'll get a well-deserved, week-long break before getting back to action on March 13 against Covenant at the Howell Courts.