The Oglethorpe men's tennis team defeated fifth-seeded Centre, 5-2, in the SAA third-place match Sunday morning at Nashboro Village Athletic Club in Nashville, Tenn., securing the highest conference finish in the program's modern history.
The morning got off to an excellent start for the Petrels, as they swept doubles from the Colonels, 3-0. Ethan Motz and Ben Hirsch won at No. 1, Bryan Bailey and C.J. Antonio won at No. 2, and Briton Richardson and Nick Roby took No. 3, all three teams winning 8-4. This put the squad just two victories from the first third-place finish in modern OU history.
Singles began with Antonio defeating his opponent in straight sets at No. 2, 6-3, 6-4. This put the Petrels up 4-0, one match away from clinching the dual match. However, Centre began to come back with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Motz at No. 1 in a match where Motz led 4-0 in the first set. Hirsch then fell 7-5, 6-4 at No. 4, drawing the Colonels back to within two matches, 4-2.
However, in his final collegiate tennis match, senior Bailey closed it out for the Petrels. He won the first set 6-3, then was ahead 5-3 and was serving for the dual match in the second set. Bailey's opponenet broke serve, giving him the opportunity to get back into the match. But Bailey shut the door on that opportunity almost as quickly as it had opened, breaking his opponent's serve to win the set, 6-4, and close out third place for the Petrels, 5-2.
Just like with Saturday's semifinal, the match was moved from Old Fort Park in Murfreesboro, Tenn., to the indoor courts at Nashboro Village because of extremely heavy rain overnight in Murfreesboro. Because of the weather and venue situation, the match was played only to decision. Richardson was ahead in the first set at No. 5 and Roby was down in the first set at No. 6 when Bailey decided the dual match.
The result means that the Petrels finish the season with a stellar overall record of 19-5.