The Oglethorpe men's tennis team got their SAA season off to a very good start Sunday morning in Mount Berry, where they defeated in-state rival Berry 6-3. The Stormy Petrels came back from being down 2-1 after the doubles competition, and were down a set in four of the six singles matches. They fought back, though, taking three of those matches, as well as the remaining two, for the overall victory. The win improved the Petrels to 4-8 on the season overall, as well as 1-0 in SAA play.
The Petrels didn't get off to a great start in the dual match, as the Vikings took two of the three doubles matches. Freshman Dustin Bowie and sophomore Jacob Bertram fell first in the No. 2 match, losing 8-3. That was followed with a defeat at No. 1 by junior Rhys Richardson and sophomore Richard Johnson, as they fell 8-4, putting Berry up 2-0 for the dual match. Oglethorpe's No. 3 doubles team might have salvaged the dual match with an 8-4 victory, though. Freshman Zoe Raymond and sophomore Michael Santaloci earned the victory for the Petrels and insured that the team would enter singles down just 2-1.
Singles started out well for the Vikings, as Bowie fell 6-0, 6-2 at No. 2, giving Berry a 3-1 lead. Richardson answered at No. 1, winning 6-3, 6-4, and making the score 3-2. Three of the matches went to a third set, and the Petrels fell behind a set in all three of them. However, the Petrels came back to win all three. Raymond earned a 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 4 to tie the overall score 3-3, then Johnson did the same at No. 3, winning 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 to bring the Petrels to within a point of winning the dual match. They did just that at No. 5, when Santaloci took out his opponent 6-4, 6-4, clinching the match for Oglethorpe. Junior Matthew Magee followed by adding on another point, coming back to win his No. 6 match 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3.
"This was a great way to start off conference play," said Oglethorpe head coach Peter Howell. "I'm proud of the heart and fight we showed in this match. Our tough spring break matches clearly helped us when it came time to pull out those tight matches today."
The Petrels will have a week off from match action, but they'll return to the Downing Howell Courts Friday, March 31, at 1 p.m. against Brooklyn. After that, they'll continue their SAA slate with road matches against Sewanee and Centre.