The Oglethorpe men's tennis team earned a pair of victories over regionally-ranked teams in central Florida on Tuesday, defeating Wheaton (Illinois) in a 5-4 barnburner Tuesday evening in Altamonte Springs in the evening after taking out Austin 7-2 in Casselberry in a match that was much closer than the score indicated. With the victories, the Stormy Petrels improved to 5-2 on the season.
Against the Thunder on Tuesday evening, the Petrels accomplished the rare feat of winning a dual match despite losing all three doubles matches. Down 3-0 entering the singles portion of the competition, the Petrels buckled down and started working their way back into the match. Senior Matthew Magee won 6-0, 6-1 at No. 4 to put the Petrels on their way, and freshman Connor Sisson followed with a 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 6. Sophomore Calvin Schneider won his No. 5 match 6-2, 6-2 to tie it up and suddenly the Petrels were right back in it with things going their way in the No. 3 match, which junior Zoe Raymond soon clinched 6-1, 6-1.
Up 4-3, the Petrels needed one of the top two singles matches to go their way. Sophomore Walker Benson was in tough against a solid opponent at No. 1, though, and he fell 6-1 in the first set and 7-5 in a second-set tiebreaker. That meant it was all up to senior Richard Johnson in the No. 2 match. He fell 6-3 in the first set, but came back with a resounding 6-1 win in the second. Due to the volume of teams and scheduling issues, all third sets while competing at Spring Break Sports in central Florida are contested as 10-point tiebreakers by rule, and Johnson and his opponent went back and forth in a tight one. Johnson prevailed 10-7, though, securing the match for the Petrels.
The day's first match against former Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Austin was nearly as exciting. Though the Petrels won 7-2, four of the six singles matches went to 10-point tiebreakers.
The Petrels took a 2-1 lead after doubles as the top-line team of Benson and Johnson won 8-4 and the No. 2 team of Sisson and senior Michael Santaloci and Sisson won 8-5. The teams split a couple of two-set matches, as Schneider won the No. 6 match 6-1, 6-1 and Benson lost 6-4, 6-0 at No. 1. That put Oglethorpe ahead 3-2. The Nos. 2-5 matches all went to 10-point tiebreakers and the Petrels prevailed in all four of them.
Raymond won his tiebreaker 10-8 out of the No. 4 slot to put the Petrels within a point of winning the dual match. Johnson came through with the clinching point at No. 2 for the first of two times on the day, winning his tiebreaker 10-8, as well. Santaloci prevailed 10-8 in his tiebreaker at No. 3 while Magee closed out the match with a 10-5 win in the tiebreak at No. 5.
The Petrels will be back in action Wednesday for their final match of the spring break trip. They'll take on regionally-ranked Ohio Wesleyan at 6 p.m. from Orlando.