Men's tennis uses outstanding singles play to knock off Birmingham-Southern, advance to SAA semifinals

Men's tennis uses outstanding singles play to knock off Birmingham-Southern, advance to SAA semifinals

The Oglethorpe men's tennis team came back from falling behind to the sixth-seeded Birmingham-Southern Panthers after doubles in the first round of the SAA Tournament, winning four of the five completed singles matches en route to a 5-3 victory that swept them into Saturday's semifinals at the Adams Tennis Complex in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

The third-seeded Stormy Petrels are set to take on No. 2 seed Rhodes Saturday at 10 a.m. EDT for their semifinal matchup. It'll serve as a rematch of Rhodes' 7-1 defeat of the Petrels April 14 in Memphis.

Down 2-1 entering the singles portion of the competition Friday, the Petrels went to work. They got quick wins from sophomore Calvin Schneider at No. 6 -- 6-0, 6-1; senior Michael Santaloci at No. 4 -- 6-3, 6-2; and junior Zoe Raymond at No. 3 -- 6-1, 6-3. These victories vaulted the Petrels into a 4-2 lead, meaning they needed to win just one of the final three matches to take the dual match.

Birmingham-Southern earned a victory over senior Richard Johnson at No. 2, 6-3, 6-4, whittling Oglethorpe's lead to 4-3. However, senior Matthew Magee clinched victory for Oglethorpe with a 6-3, 6-1 win at No. 5, giving the Petrels their fifth point of the match.

The Panthers went ahead early with an 8-3 victory over Schneider and sophomore Walker Benson at No. 2 doubles. The third-line tandem of Santaloci and Magee responded with a tough 8-6 win, but Johnson and freshman Connor Sisson lost 8-4 on the top line, moving the dual match into singles play with Birmingham-Southern holding a 2-1 lead.