Marlins Finish Competition at ITA Regional
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. -- The Virginia Wesleyan University men's tennis team wrapped up its fall season this past weekend at the South Atlantic ITA Regional Championships hosted by the University of Mary Washington. The three-day event included both championship and B draws for singles and doubles. The winner of the championship draws move on to the ITA Small College Championships which are held in Rome, Ga. in mid-October.
Sophomore Nick Gunther and freshman Mitchell Perry were selected for the main doubles draw. Gunther and Perry faced off against Rajadurai Arul and Ishaan Prinz of regionally-ranked Haverford. Gunther and Perry started off the match holding serve and then went up an early break of serve before holding on for an impressive 8-3 victory. In their second round match Gunther and Perry faced off against the No. 9 seeds from national powerhouse Carnegie Mellon. After an extended opening game, returning against CMU, the Marlin duo dropped the second round decision to Revanth Boppana and Nicholas Calzolano, 8-2.
Representing VWU in the championship singles draw was junior Paul Gladstone who faced off against standout Ryland Byrd of Mary Washington. Byrd went up an early break of serve in both sets leading to a 6-3, 6-3 win over Gladstone. In the back draw, Gladstone matched up against Stefan Hein, a highly-rated freshman from Salisbury. Again, Gladstone went down a break of serve early in the first set but was able to build a break point at 4-5 but was not able to convert and dropped the opening set 6-4. The second set was similar to the first and Gladstone found himself down a break midway through the set and was not able to recover and dropped the competitive match 6-4, 6-4.
In B draw singles the Marlins had two of their freshman competing in the same draw. Anthony Wilson opened up with a 6-0, 6-2 loss to Mason Groff of Ursinus College. In the back draw Wilson faced off Mitch Brody from regional power CNU and dropped the decision 6-3, 6-1. Wilson faced two tough opponents and his season singles record moved to 2-3 for the year after picking up two wins at the Yellow Jacket Invitational a couple of weeks ago.
On the other side of the B2 singles draw, Perry fell to Wilkes' Tawhid Choudury by a score of 7-6, 3-6, 6-1. In Perry's first consolation round he matched up against William Driskill, another highly-ranked ODAC freshman. With both players coming into the match with similar UTR ratings the matchup promised to deliver early season ODAC drama. Driskill went up a break of serve mid-way through the first set before holding on to take the first set 6-3. In the second set Perry went up an early break. He then broke again and found himself up 5-0. Driskill then reeled off four-straight games before Perry claimed his sixth game and took the second, 6-4. Perry then relaxed and played solid tennis to take the third set 6-1.
In the consolation semifinals Perry matched up against Goucher's Slade Dumas. Perry captured the first set 7-5 after being up early service breaks. With a set in hand Perry served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but came up short losing the no-ad deuce point before dropping the set 7-6. After playing 11 sets of tennis in two days Perry seemed to run out of gas and dropped the deciding set 6-2. Perry went 1-2 for the tournament with two three-set losses.
In B1 doubles action the team of Gladstone and Wilson lost their opening round decision against Haverford's Julian Mo and Arnav Patodia 8-3. Gladstone and Wilson then went on to knock off McDaniel's Quinn Burker and Jimmy Wawrzynski by a score of 8-0. In the semifinals, the Marlin pair matched up against Swarthmore's Noah Cheng and Evan Han. The Marlins battled but lost multiple deuce games throughout the set before dropping the match 8-2.
"The guys did a solid job of preparing for the weekend. We were competitive in a good number of sets against quality opponents and were able to take a couple of matches against very strong and deep teams," head coach Marty Perry said. "It was also great for the guys to pick up a win in the main doubles draw against a very good Haverford team. Additionally, I was proud of the way we collectively battled and fought back in matches and sets after facing early adversity. The tournament committee cut back on the number of open spots in the draw for the first time this year which led to a much higher and deeper level of play in every draw."