The Tiger men's tennis team got two crucial wins on Monday. The Tigers had to come back from 2-4 down to defeat the John Brown University Golden Eagles 5-4. The Golden Eagles took a 2-1 match lead after the doubles. The Tigers' doubles win came from the #1 team of Mark Gayer and Ivory Washington 8-5. Ivory Washington evened the match up at 2-2 with a convincing singles win at #2 6-0, 6-2. The Golden Eagles responded by winning the #3 and #4 singles spots in close three set matches. Trailing 2-4 with three matches being played at the same time, the Tigers had to win all three. Mark Gayer won a close match at #1 6-3, 6-4, to close the gap to 3-4. Grant Rardon tied things up at 4-4 with a three set win at #5. Rardon came from 2-5 down in the first set to win the set 7-5. He dropped the second set 1-6, but prevailed, after being down match point, in the super tie breaker 12-10. Everything came down to David Armstrong at the #6 spot. Armstrong cruised in the opening set 6-3, but got rattled in the second set, losing it 1-6. Things were dead even in the super tie breaker until Armstrong got a mini break late and then hit a big ace. They changed sides a t 9-9 and Armstrong won the next two points to win the breaker 11-9.
Brimming with confidence, the Tigers took on Oklahoma Wesleyan in the afternoon match. The Tigers had lost to the Eagles a couple of weeks ago 2-7. The key to this match was the doubles play. In the previous match, the Eagles swept the doubles putting the Tigers' singles players in an impossible position. In Monday's match, the Tigers took two of the three doubles matches taking a lot of pressure off of the singles matches. Mark Gayer and Ivory Washington won at #1 doubles 8-3 as did the #2 team of Nathan Vanderhoof and Dillin Lanting. Gayer extended the Tiger lead to 3-1 winning his #1 singles match 6-0, 6-3. The Eagles trimmed the lead to 3-2 winning the #2 singles spot over Dillin Lanting. Gunnar Kelly got the Tigers to within one match of the win by defeating his opponent at #4 6-3, 6-2. The Eagles then trimmed the lead back to 1 winning at the #6 spot. Grant Rardon clinched the dual for the Tigers winning the #5 singles spot 6-4, 6-2. Ivory Washing put the icing on the cake with a three set win at #3 singles 6-0, 3-6, 10-4.
Coach Nelson was pleased with his teams' effort saying, "Overall we played very well today. We didn't play our best tennis against JBU, but we gutted it out and got the victory. Against OWU we played lights out. They are a talented team, and we came out and stuck it to them from the outset of the match."
The Tigers evened their record up at 5-5. They are back in action this Saturday at Winfield. The Tigers take on Southwestern College at 10:00 am and then finish the