ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- The Greenville Men's Tennis team traveled to Concordia, Mo. to take on three different Concordia teams. The Panthers went undefeated in the tournament, beating Concordia Wisconsin 5-4, winning 8-1 against Concordia Nebraska, and earning the 8-1 victory against Concordia St. Louis to capture the tournament title.
The Panthers once again proved this weekend that they are a team on the rise! Coach Brannon circled several matches and dates on their schedule for this year, and one of those was the Concordia Invitational Tournament. Last year's freshman-dominated team struggled to win close matches. A great example of that was in the 2012 Concordia Invitational Tournament. They lost matches to Concordia Wisconsin and Concordia Nebraska by scores of 8 matches to 1. While doing so, they lost several close doubles matches and 5 three set singles matches.
The Panthers were faced with a very tough challenge in their first match on Friday, as they faced the defending champs from Concordia Wisconsin. The Hawks came into the match with an overall record of 8-5. Greenville jumped on top early as they swept all three doubles matches. The Hawks quickly struck back with 3 quick singles wins to even the match score at 3-3. Ryan Haas put the Panthers back on top with a big win at #5 singles. That left the Panthers in need of one more win to clinch the match. Freshman Code Power won his first set at #6 singles in easy fashion 6-1. His opponent gained early control of the second set by taking a lead of 5-2. With his teammates looking on and the match hanging in the balance, Power showed great poise and battled back to clinch the match for the Panthers! The final score was GC 5, Concordia WI-4.
After a quick break for lunch, GC took to the courts for another dual match against a team that defeated them 8-1 last year. This time they were facing NAIA opponent, Concordia Nebraska. The Panthers were able to secure two of the doubles victories at #2 and #3. In this tournament last year, GC lost 5 of the 6 singles matches. This time would be different. The Panthers swept all 6 singles matches! Final score, GC 8 Concordia Nebraska 1. Junior Ryan Haas stated "This was a real benchmark performance for us. This is the first time that we've been able to sweep singles against a quality opponent! We are just a different team than we were last year. We're looking forward to a strong finish to the season!"
On Saturday morning the Panthers were able to defeat Concordia St. Louis by a final score of 8-1. This match clinched the tournament title for GC. Several players were named to the All-Tournament Team: #3 singles Drew Herlein, #5 singles Ryan Haas, #6 singles Code Power. #1 doubles team of Drew Herlein and Jon Urshan, #2 doubles team of Jordan Tingle and Alex Dowley, #3 doubles team of Ryan Haas and Demetrius Bush.
The Panthers overall record now stands at 11-7 (2-2 SLIAC). The 11 victories match the most wins by any team in Coach Brannon's 12 seasons as Head Coach. The Panthers will host Westminster on Tuesday at 4pm to close out the regular season. They will begin play on Friday in the SLIAC Conference Tournament at 11am. The tournament will again be held at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center at Forest Park in St. Louis.