Fredericksburg, VA - The Virginia Wesleyan University men's tennis team closed out their fall season this weekend at the South Atlantic ITA Regional Championships. The Marlins had four singles players and two doubles teams competing in various draws throughout the weekend.
Marlin sophomore Timothy Tep (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) fell to CNU's Dominic Lacombe, the overall number one seed in the championship draw, 6-1, 6-2. Lacombe, an NCAA qualifier from last season, played steady with few unforced errors. He was successful in neutralizing Tep's aggressive groundstrokes, forcing Tep to make too many midcourt unforced errors. In the back draw, Tep found himself rematched with Michael Moody from Hampden-Sydney. The two played last Sunday at the Marlin Invite where Moody took the proset, 8-1. Tep came out stronger this time pushing most games to deuce were no-ad score was used throughout the tournament. Tep and Moody play a similar game style, each looking to take control of the points early while looking to pressure with aggressive play. In the end, Moody took the match 6-2, 6-3, advancing to the quarterfinals of the back draw.
In the B1 draw, senior Andreas Combos (Raleigh, NC) dropped his opening match to #1 seed John Nicholas-Daly from Swathmore. Combos came out slow dropping the first set 6-0 but battled back in the second before losing 6-0, 6-3 to the eventual champion of the A draw. In the back draw, Combos found himself with another tough match-up against Matthew Ryan from Salisbury. This time Combos came out strong taking the opening set 6-2. Ryan battled back taking the 2nd set 6-3. Ryan played a strong match deciding tiebreaker, not making one unforced error and taking the breaker 10-0.
In the B2 draw, junior Mitchell Perry (Johns Creek, GA) was matched up with Arnav Patodia form Haverford. Perry went up 1-0 early in the first set before dropping the next two games. Down 1-2, Perry found a higher gear and went on to take the very competitive set 6-3. Patodia fought back early in the 2nd set taking a 3-0 then 4-1 lead. Perry had to dig down again and find energy to cut back on unforced errors. Mitchell was able to break back and held serve at 5-6 forcing a 2nd set tiebreaker. In the tiebreaker, Perry made no unforced errors and took the tiebreaker 7-1. In the 2nd round, Perry dropped a 6-3, 6-3 decision against eventual finalist Ryan Santmyer of Salisbury. Even though the match was very competitive, Santmyer's powerful serve and forehand was too much for Perry to overcome in his 2nd competitive of the day.
In the B3 draw, Marlin freshman Henry West (Cheltenham Gloucestershir, UK) dropped a close 6-4, 6-4 decision to Lynchburg's Coulton Mullins. The tightly contested and lengthy match came down to late set unforced errors. West found himself with a tough match-up in the back draw when he faced Andrew Lai from Dickinson. West came out strong pushing Lai early on but ended up dropping the set 6-3, eventually falling 6-3, 6-1.
In doubles, VWU's Mitchell Perry and Henry West received a bye in the first round of the championship draw. In the 2nd round they faced Jacob Quijano and Andrew Watson from Mary Washington. Perry and West were broken on their first service game but broke back, getting back on serve at 2-3. With the majority of games going to deuce, Mary Washington played the big points well and went on to an 8-3 decision. In the back draw, Perry and West claimed an 8-3 win over Stevenson University's Larry Johnson III and Raymond McDermott.
The ITA Championships marked the end of the fall season for the Marlins. They open up action in the winter with a scrimmage date against CNU on Saturday February 1st. Match time is TBA but it will be played at the James River Country Club in Newport News.