Men's tennis suffers tough day in 7-1 loss to No. 39 Rhodes

Men's tennis suffers tough day in 7-1 loss to No. 39 Rhodes

The Oglethorpe men's tennis team had a tough day in Memphis, Tennessee, Sunday at the Dunavant Wellford Tennis Center, falling 7-1 to the homestanding No. 39 Rhodes Lynx. With the loss, Oglethorpe fell to 10-6 overall and 4-2 in SAA play.

Things didn't go well for the Petrels in doubles play. Sophomores Walker Benson and Calvin Schneider were locked in a battle at the No. 2 slot. With the score tied 7-7, they went to a tiebreak. There, the Petrel tandem saved match point down 6-5 and had a chance to win it up 7-6. Rhodes went back up 8-7 and the Petrels saved another match point, but the Lynx pair wound up winning 10-8. The No. 3 doubles team of seniors Michael Santaloci and Matthew Magee got up a break early, but Rhodes earned a break of their own. The Petrel combo had game point with the match tied 6-6, but Rhodes won that game and the next to take it 8-6.

Down 3-0, the Petrels were in a hole headed to the singles portion of the match. Senior Richard Johnson fell 6-2, 6-0 at No. 2 while Santaloci found himself involved in a tight match at No. 4. He fell 6-4 in the opening set but bounced back with a 6-3 win in the second, forcing a 10-point tiebreak for the match. It was a marathon extra session, as he saved dual-match point down 9-8 and 10-9. Santaloci turned it back around and had a match point of his own up 11-10. However, his opponent knocked a big forehand winner to save it, then went on to win 13-11 and clinch the match for the Lynx.

The lone Oglethorpe win came in a single eight-game set at No. 5 (with the dual match already decided), as Magee beat his opponent 8-5.

"It was not our day today," said Oglethorpe head coach Peter Howell. "Rhodes got all the breaks and took all the close ones. To their credit, they stepped up and played well at important moments. It's very tough to mentally come back from after losing all three doubles in such close matches after having opportunities to win them. The doubles result clearly took its toll on us, but we gave it our best effort."

The Petrels will be back in action from Mount Berry on Friday, when they take on in-state opponent Berry in their final match of the regular season at 2:30 p.m.