Virginia Beach, Va. – The Virginia Wesleyan University men's tennis team battled to a hard fought 6-3 win over Centre College on Monday afternoon at the Everett Tennis Center.
The Marlins jumped out to a 2-1 lead after doubles by claiming the #1 and #2 spots. After dropping #3 doubles 8-6, the newly formed team of Paul Gladstone (Port Orange, FL) and Mike Portera (Raleigh, NC) overcame from being down 1-4 and two breaks of serve to cruise to an 8-5 win evening the match at 1-1. At #1 doubles, sophomore Nick Gunther (Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia) and freshman Mitch Perry (Johns Creek, GA) held on for a 9-8 win over the Colonels Matthew Ko and Josh Joiner.
Like in doubles, the singles matches turned out to be extremely close as they progressed. Four of the six matches went three sets with the other two were competitive straight set contests. Centre was first to claim a singles point when Ben Hadlock defeated Marlins freshman Anthony Wilson (Lynchburg, VA) 7-5, 6-1. With the match knotted at 2-2 Marlins freshman Mitch Perry took down Centre's Matthew Ko 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 at #3 giving VWU a 3-2 advantage. Shortly thereafter the Colonels Adam Slone evened up the team match score at 3-3 with a 7-5, 6-3 decision over Marlins sophomore Andreas Combos (Raleigh, NC). At this point darkness had set in so matches were moved under the lights on courts 3 and 4. Earning the Marlins 4th point was Nick Gunther when he came back from a set down to defeat Josh Joiner 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 at #5. A few minutes later junior captain Paul Gladstone earned the Marlin's 5th team point in a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 decision at #1 singles securing the team victory. With the match decided Mike Portera finished off his match at #6 singles over Beau Brown 4-6, 7-5, 10-5.
With the win the Marlins improve to 4-4 on the season while the Colonels fall to 3-7. The Marlins will travel to Hilton Head, SC on Saturday for their spring break trip playing 4 matches in 5 days. First up will be a Sunday afternoon match vs. Union College. The contest will take place at Hilton Head Beach and Tennis. First serve is set for 2 PM.