Men’s Tennis: Tribe loses 5-1 to Middle Tennessee

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Jamie Holt / The Flat Hat

William and Mary (2-12, 0-1 CAA) fell 5-1 to Middle Tennessee (11-9) Mar. 24 at the Millie West Tennis Facility. The Tribe played at the facility last Sunday, taking a 4-1 victory over East Carolina, and were looking to extend their two-game winning streak. The Blue Raiders entered the match with similar momentum, having won their last two matches 7-0 against Chattanooga, after suffering a four-game losing streak.

The day opened up with the doubles set. The Tribe entered the match winning four out of its last five doubles points, including their last two matches, which have helped them convert those matches into wins.

At the No. 3 slot, sophomore Sebastian Quiros and Finbar Talcott played Blue Raiders’ Gonzalo Morell and Pavel Motl. Talcott and Quiros struggled, starting down 0-3 in the set. That start would turn into a blowout, and the Tribe players lost their double set 2-6, giving Middle Tennessee the first doubles point of the set.

No. 1 featured sophomore Chen Ruo and junior Brenden Volk against Blue Raiders Chris Edge and Tom Moonen. The upperclassmen dropped the first game but fight back to a 3-2 scoreline. A back-and-forth battle would see court one at a 5-5 scoreline. Edge and Moonen took a pivotal 11th game and had the first crack at claiming the doubles point. Ruo and Volk wouldn’t fall, however, and took the 12th game, sending court one into tiebreaker. The Blue Raiders won the tiebreaker 7-2, claiming the second doubles set, the doubles point, and the first lead of the game, 1-0.

Senior Tristan Bautil and freshman Oren Vasser entered their match 4-1 at the No. 2 spot, and looked to extend their streak, starting off to a hot 3-1 start. The Blue Raiders fought through the middle portion of the set to tie it up 4-4. The ninth game would see Rocha and Rauch finding victory, and an opportunity to close out the set. Like their teammates on court one, Vasser and Bautil wouldn’t allow the Blue Raiders to claim the set and set the scoreline to 5-5. However, the Blue Raiders once again gained the lead, 6-5. Bautil and Vasser wouldn’t have a chance to fight back when court one fell to the Blue Raiders.

Singles would begin shortly after, and freshman Jack Kelly fell behind 0-3 in the first set quickly. The next two games would be split for a 4-1 scoreline. Edge gained an early opportunity to clinch the set, up 5-2. The final two games would also be split, and Edge clinched the first singles set of the day, 6-3. Kelly went down 3-2 to start the next set as well. Edge would close out the second set and gain the Blue Raiders’ second point of the day, 6-4.

Volk played Blue Raiders Stijn Slump at No. 2. He struggled early in the first set, falling to a 2-4 deficit. Slump closed out the first set 6-2 without wasting any extra time. The second set featured a stronger fight from Volk, but halfway through, the Tribe player was on the ropes, 4-3. Slump closed out his match 6-3, and soon after gaining their second point of the day, the Blue Raiders found their third.

At the No. 4 spot, Vasser got an opportunity to rematch against Rauch. Vasser came out of the gates with a 4-1 lead in his first set. Heput himself in position to clinch his set with a 5-3 scoreline, and did just that, 6-3. The second set featured more of Vasser, as he took another 4-1 lead. Rauch didn’t fall easily though, and take the next two games, putting the score at 4-3. Rauch would take the eight game, tying the set, but Vasser stopped the streak, claiming the ninth, and a 5-4 lead. Vasser would finish the job in the tenth set on deuce point, claiming the Tribe’s first point of the day, 3-1.

Talcott and Moonen would play at No. 3. Moonen took a 2-1 lead early, and split games brought the court to a 3-2 scoreline. Moonen would led the next two games, making the scoreline 5-2. Moonen didn’t squander the opportunity to close out the first set, winning it 6-2. The second set featured a higher level from Talcott, who fought for a 3-3 scoreline halfway through. Talcott found his stride in the latter half of the second set, claiming it 6-3. His stride was all but halted in the final set, as the Tribe player went down 0-3 early. Talcott began to battle back, getting the score to 4-2. Moonen took the seventh game, but failed to close the set out. He allowed Talcott to reach a 3-5 scoreline, but Talcott failed to win the ninth, and losy 3-6, dropping the fourth point for the Tribe.

Quiros, against Morell, battled during a competitive first set. Quiros gained a decisive 4-3 entering the latter half of the set. A split of the next two games would see Quiros with a 5-4 lead, and opportunity to claim a set at first singles. Morell would not relent, however, and Quiros would fall in the tie breaker, 7-5. Quiros battled from behind in the second set, going down 3-2. The first singles player’s fortunes seemed to turn, as he clinched the next two sets, the second being a sweep against Morell, taking a 4-3 lead. Morell returned the favor, taking the next two games, putting himself up 5-4 and in position to end the match. Quiros would face match point on deuce in the tenth game, and clutch it out, getting the set to 5-5 and keeping the day alive. Morell would continue to pressure Quiros though, winning the eleventh game, requiring another tiebreaker for Quiros to win the set. Court one would go into tiebreaker, as Morell double faulted at 15-40 on the twelfth set. The tiebreaker would be stopped when court three’s match ended.

Ruo would play Motl at No. 6. The first leg of the set was competitive, going 3-2 in favor of Motl. Ruo took the next two games for a 4-3 lead as the set reached its crescendo. A split of the next two games saw Ruo with a 5-4 lead and an opportunity to close out the first set, which he would capitalize on, taking a 6-4 victory. The next set featured more competition, and Ruo would go down 2-3 to start. The next two sets were split for a 4-3 lead for the Blue Raiders. Motl finished the second set, 6-3, sending court six to a third. Ruo would fall 2-3 early in the match. Motl extended his lead to 4-3. The match wouldn’t finish.

The Tribe’s two-game winning streak was broken. It faces DePaul Saturday, Mar. 30 at home, with a chance for redemption. The Tribe has five remaining matches in the season before the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.