Wesleyan tennis team beats D&E

VIENNA — West Virginia Wesleyan survived a doubles surge from Davis and Elkins to take a 2-1 lead into singles play, and held off the Senators for a 6-3 non-conference win here Saturday evening in men’s tennis action.

Wesleyan captured No. 2 doubles behind Nathan Sabate and Ferran Berga (pictured) by a 8-5 score, while Ramon Rodriguez and Pedro Nassar needed a tie-breaker to produce a 9-8 (7-2) win at No. 3 doubles.

The Senators had already won 8-5 at No. 1 doubles, so the pressure fell squarely on the remaining Bobcat teams to avoid the potential sweep. Nassar and Rodriguez saved two match points in the 16th game to stave off the loss and get into the tiebreak.

The Bobcats, ranked third in the ITA Atlantic Region, then took the last four singles matches in straight sets to complete the win, while the Senators claimed the top two positions in tough, three-set victories.

“This was a great match and an important result for us,” head coach Marc Walters, who saw his team even their record at 4-4 on the season, said. “We needed to play, and to get into a physical, tough battle with a good team was exactly what we hoped for. Fortunately for our team’s confidence, we pulled out two close doubles and built some momentum coming off the Chowan result.”

The Senators came out on top in two outstanding matches at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, where Lukas Laipold and Sabate battled deep into their third sets before falling to Ivan Bondarenko and Tare Mariga. Each Bobcat lost the first set, and then rallied to take the second. Both matches lasted over three hours and featured some grueling, emotional play from all four players.

The teams played at the Greenmont Racquet Club after inclement weather postponed the match for the second time. Both teams last competed a week prior during their spring break trips, so moving the match indoors was required to get it completed.

Weather permitting, the ‘Cats return to the courts to take on Mountain East Conference leader Fairmont State on Wednesday in Fairmont.