The Oglethorpe men's tennis team was set for another epic showdown with Atlantic South No. 16 Rhodes Saturday on the Howell Tennis Courts for second place in the league, but the Stormy Petrels blitzed their regionally-ranked opponents instead, winning 8-1 and ensuring they'll take second in the SAA by themselves for the second consecutive year if they can beat Hendrix on Sunday.
Things started well for the Petrels and seemed to snowball quickly on the visitors. Oglethorpe swept doubles 3-0, leaving Rhodes squarely behind the eight-ball. C.J. Antonio and Nick Roby had the closest match at No. 1, winning 8-6, but Ben Hirsch and Cedric Andre got an 8-2 win at No. 2 and Kirk Zhao and Matt Jones secured an 8-4 win at No. 3.
In the singles portion, the Petrels quickly took a dominating 4-0 lead when Zhao secured a 6-0, 6-4 win in straight sets at No. 4. Hirsch then clinched the dual match for the home side with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) win at No. 2. Roby quickly added on another at No. 3, 6-2, 6-4 to expand the Oglethorpe lead to 6-0. The visiting Lynx finally got their only victory in a tough, three-set match at No. 5, but Antonio followed with a 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 win, while Jones won an epic 12-10 tiebreak in the first set before easily cruising to a 6-1 victory in the second at No. 6.
With the victory, the Petrels improve to 11-8 on the season, 4-1 in SAA play. Their match with Hendrix Sunday on the Howell Tennis Courts will get started at 11 a.m. If they're able to secure a victory in that, they'll take second place and the No. 2 seed in the upcoming SAA Championship in Murfreesboro, Tenn.