News - Men's tennis falls in SLIAC championship

Men's tennis falls in SLIAC championship

Men's tennis falls in SLIAC championship

ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- The men's tennis team came up short in the SLIAC championship match with a 5-1 loss to Principia.

Principia avenged a regular season loss to Greenville to win their third straight title and conference record 14 tournament titles.

Nearly one month ago Greenville handed Principia their first regular season conference loss in over two years, winning 5-4, but on Saturday, it was Principia who kept Greenville from the program's first ever tournament title.

Principia took the early lead when their No. 1 doubles team picked up an 8-2 win over Nate Wieland and Justin Tilford.

The match was closer than the score indicated with the Greenville duo's powerful attacks. However the Principia team was able to guard the baseline and keep the ball alive.

Greenville threatened to extend the match late, up 40-15. However Principia forced the score to deuce. Greenville held advantage in the set but once again it was a strong defense by Principia on a lob to keep the ball up, eventually netting the game winner on an unforced error.

Greenville quickly tied it up when the No. 2 doubles team of Code Power and Jonathan Urshan won 8-3. Power deftly maneuvered at the net all match long while Urshan ripped powerful shots from deep including the match winner down the line.

During the regular season it was Greenville's No. 3 team who picked up the key win that propelled them to victory, but on Saturday, fortunes were reversed as the Principia team edged out Greenville 8-6 to put Principia up 2-1 after doubles action.

The match was evenly played as Principia jumped out to a 5-2 lead. However Greenville duo Blake Gocey and Chris Heckman fought their way back into the match, tying the score at 6-6. Principia held serve to take the lead and avoided going into a tiebreaker when they broke Greenville serve, securing the 8-6 win.

Principia battled past Nate Wieland at No. 1 singles, winning 6-4, 6-0 and Principia added a 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 4 singles to put Principia up 4-1 in the match.

That win came moments later when Principia's No. 2 outlasted Urshan 6-4, 6-0 to give Principia the five wins necessary to clinch the SLIAC tournament title.

Greenville was winning in the three matches that went unfinished with Code Power up 7-5, 4-2 at No. 3 singles, Justin Tilford winning 2-6, 6-2, 4-2 at No. 5 singles, and Mason Tennell up 3-6, 6-2, 2-1 at No. 6 singles.

The Panthers concluded their season with a record of 14-5.  It was the highest winning percentage for a Greenville men's tennis team in 20 years.

This story was published on April 23, 2016

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