The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men’s tennis team grinded out a 4-2 win over Davidson on the opening day of the 2014 Southern Conference Tennis Tournament. The Mocs won the doubles point and rallied from a 2-1 deficit to score the win at the Champions Club this afternoon.
UTC (7-13) came into the match as the No. 9 seed in the Tournament. Chattanooga dropped the regular season meeting with the eighth-seeded Wildcats (5-18) 5-2 on March 23.
“Classic 8-9 match that I felt was pretty even,” stated UTC head coach Carlos Garcia. “We had a better match in the doubles, but I think both teams came to play today. It’s tough beating the same team twice so I guess it’s good we lost in the regular season. It wasn’t the plan but we will take it here at the end of the season in the tournament.”
The Mocs won the doubles point for the second time against Davidson. UTC got behind early when freshmen Austin Boaz and Derrick Brown dropped their No. 2 match with Ethan Kallick and Evan Watkins 8-5.
Things were not looking much better for the Mocs in the other matches. Teamed together for the first time, sophomores John Peacey and Gino Delavalle fell behind 3-0 to Zack Zapatero and Alex Howard at No. 3. Peacy and Delavalle found their groove and ran off six straight games to take a 6-3 lead. They wound up winning 8-5 to keep the doubles point in play.
“We needed that,” added Garcia. “That was a line up I felt very comfortable with. I am glad they didn’t panic and stayed poised. Being down 3-0, they came back and had control of the match. In doubles, anything can happen. They were slow in the beginning, but turned it around and were big for us.”
In the meantime, UTC’s No. 1 tandem of senior Jorge Varon and junior Pavels Grigorjevs were also battling back in their match. The captured the doubles point and a 1-0 lead with an 8-6 win over Robert Lightbourn and Connor Evins.
In the regular season meeting, the Mocs lost their momentum from doubles play by dropping the first two singles matches. The same thing happened today when Evan Watkins defeated Peacey (6-3, 6-2) at No. 5 and Evins beat sophomore Luke Saunders (6-4, 6-2) at No. 3.
Chattanooga tied the match after Brown dominated the second set in a (7-5, 6-1) win over Ricky Saad at No. 6. He improved to 12-13 in singles and 7-6 at No. 6.
The Mocs went up 3-2 following Grigorjevs straight-set win at No. 1. He defeated Lightbourn (7-6 (2), 6-3) to move to 6-5 at No. 1 this spring.
Chattanooga seemed to be in the driver’s seat with Varon up 5-3 in the second set and serving for the win against Kallick. He won the first set 7-5 and was poised to grab the team win. Kallick fought off his serve and eventually forced a tiebreaker. Varon went up 5-1 in the breaker, but again struggled to close out the win. Kallcik battled back to 6-6, but Varon settled down and secured the win (7-5, 7-6 (6)) when Kallick’s last shot sailed long.
UTC is back on the court Thursday at 9:00 a.m. (E.D.T.). They will face No. 1 seed Elon at the Champions Club. A link for live scoring is available on the men’s tennis schedule page on GoMocs.com.
Chattanooga 4, Davidson 2
Apr 16, 2014 at Chattanooga, Tenn. (Champions Club)
1. Pavels Grigorjevs/Jorge Varon (UTC) def. Robert Lightbourn/Connor Evins (DAV) 8-6
2. Ethan Kallick/Evan Watkins (DAV) def. Austin Boaz/Derrick Brown (UTC) 8-5
3. John Peacey/Gino Delavalle (UTC) def. Zack Zapatero/Alex Howard (DAV) 8-5
1. Pavels Grigorjevs (UTC) def. Robert Lightbourn (DAV) 7-6 (7-2), 6-3
2. Jorge Varon (UTC) def. Ethan Kallick (DAV) 7-5, 7-6 (8-6)
3. Connor Evins (DAV) def. Luke Saunders (UTC) 6-4, 6-2
4. Gino Delavalle (UTC) vs. J.B. Gough (DAV) 2-6, 6-2, 5-6, unfinished
5. Evan Watkins (DAV) def. John Peacey (UTC) 6-3, 6-2
6. Derrick Brown (UTC) def. Ricky Saad (DAV) 7-5, 6-1
Davidson 5-18, 2-6 SoCon
Chattanooga 7-13, 1-8 SoCon
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (5,3,6,1,2)