The Oglethorpe men's tennis team enjoyed an outstanding match Monday morning in Lakeland, Florida, knocking off the Belhaven Blazers 7-2 for the first win of their four-day, six-match spring break trip. With the win, the Stormy Petrels improved to 2-2 on the season.
The Petrels got the match started with a clean sweep of doubles. Sophomore Walker Benson and senior Richard Johnson prevailed in a tight one on the top line, winning a tiebreaker 7-2 to take the match 8-7. Junior Zoe Raymond and sophomore Calvin Schneider performed similarly well in a close match at No. 3, winning 8-6. Senior Michael Santaloci and freshman Connor Sisson had an easier time at No. 2, winning 8-1.
Raymond brought the Petrels to the brink of clinching with a 6-0, 6-0 victory at No. 3 singles. Benson finished it off with a hard-fought 6-3, 7-6(2) win on the top line to clinch the dual match, putting Oglethorpe up 5-0.
After that, Santaloci fell 7-6(4), 6-2 at No. 2 and senior Matthew Magee did the same, 6-2, 6-3, at No. 4. However, Schneider and Sisson both won at Nos. 5 and 6 singles, respectively, for the final tally.
The Petrels will be back in action Monday night in Orlando when they head to the USTA National Campus to take on St. Scholastica at 7 p.m.
UPDATE: The Petrels earned a rousing 5-4 comeback win over the St. Scholastica Saints Monday night at the USTA National Campus in Orlando.
St. Scholastica got the jump on Oglethorpe in doubles, taking a 2-1 lead in the match. Schneider and Raymond won 8-0 at No. 3 doubles, but Benson and Johnson lost 8-6 at No. 1 while Sisson and Santaloci fell 8-4 at No. 2.
The Petrels easily won the fourth through sixth singles matches, as Raymond, Magee and Schneider took the contests, respectively. Johnson fell at No. 2, but the Petrels led 4-3 with two matches remaining.
Santaloci found himself in trouble at No. 3, falling 6-1 in the first set. However, he responded in a big way with a 6-1 win in the second, forcing a 10-point tiebreaker for the match. In a great back-and-forth battle, St. Scholastica's Rafael Gonzalez Retana won 10-8, tying the dual match 4-4 and keeping the Saints alive.
At the top-line singles slot, Benson found himself locked in a tight match. He was down 4-2 in the first set and faced triple break point down 4-3, but steeled himself and came back to hold serve in that game. Overall, he won four straight games to take the opening set 6-4. Benson again fell behind 3-0 in the second set, but he again buckled down and went on a huge run, sweeping the remaining six games to take the second 6-3 and clinch the dual match for the Petrels.
The Petrels will continue with their spring break trip on Tuesday, taking on Austin at 11:30 a.m. in Casselberry before continuing to Altamonte Springs for a battle with Wheaton (Illinois) at 6 p.m.