Chattanooga gets its second one-point win of the weekend after downing Belmont by the same score on Friday. The Mocs won three matches that went to a tiebreaker in the victory, dropping Gardner-Webb to 2-4 overall.
"Once again I am very pleased with how our guys gutted out some close matches," stated Head Coach Carlos Garcia. "This was as close as you can get to a conference match. We are getting some excellent preparation for a tough Southern Conference schedule."
All but two matches on the day were hotly contested, beginning with a very competitive doubles point. UTC had won two straight without taking the doubles matches, but they ended that streak today.
GWU took the No. 2 doubles with Ernest Albrech and Matthew Parker defeated juniors Ankit Chopra (Chandigrah, India) and Stephen Crofford (Franklin, Tenn.) 8-5. Juniors Chris Smith (Johnson City, Tenn.) and Roberto Vieira (Bedfordview, South Africa) evened it up with an 8-5 win of their own at No. 1.
The final doubles match was a battle at No. 3 between UTC's junior Jackson Tresnan (Apopka, Fla.) and freshman Pavels Grigorjevs (Riga, Latvia) and Gardner-Webb's Brendan Dempsey and Blake Dunlap. The two teams went back and forth with Chattanooga answering each time GWU moved ahead. Chattanooga eventually tied the match at 8, sending the teams to a seven-point breaker. The Mocs dominated the final frame 7-2, to win the match and take the team point.
The first singles were the only ones not to go the full three sets. Dempsey tied the match for the Bulldogs with a (6-0, 6-0) win over Crofford at No. 6. Tresnan put UTC back up 2-1 with his (6-2, 6-0) win over Joao Poli at No. 5. Tresnan improved to 6-1 on the year and a perfect 5-0 at No. 5.
Things got very interesting the rest of the way. Chopra was locked into a three-setter with Albrech at No. 3. He won the first 6-3, before dropping the second 6-3. He went up 3-0 in the final, but Albrech eventually tied it at six-all to force a tiebreaker. Chopra used a big serve to control the final frame (7-4), nailing an ace on the game-winner to put UTC up 3-1.
Chattanooga needed one more win in any of the three matches still on the court. Things didn't look to good for the Mocs, down a set at No. 1 and No. 5 and trailing 5-2 in the third at No. 2.
Smith, playing the No. 2 spot for Chattanooga against GWU's Adam Knutsson, took a look around, saw what was going on and turned up the intensity in his match. "I saw how we were doing and I knew I could not lose this point. I did not want to give them a chance to get back into the match."
Smith won the next three matches and then forced a tiebreaker at six-all. He fought off six match points in the tiebreaker. Trailing 6-3, we won three straight points. He then gave up the advantage three more times before finally winning 11-9. That sealed the team win for UTC while Smith improved to 5-1 at No. 2 in spring action.
Both Vieira and junior Manuel Barroetavena went on to lose in straight sets at No. 1 and No. 3, respectively. That ended the scoring at 4-3.
Chattanooga is back at home next weekend, hosting North Alabama. Match time is set for 1:00 p.m. (E.S.T.) on Saturday, Feb. 18. Weather permitting, the match against the Lions will be played on campus at the UTC Tennis Courts. A link for live scoring will again be available on the men's tennis schedule page on GoMocs.com.
Chattanooga 4, Gardner-Webb 3
1. Chris Smith/Roberto Vieira (UTC) def. Korhan Ates/Adam Knutsson (GWU) - 8-5
2. Ernest Albrech/Matthew Parker (GWU) def. Ankit Chopra/Stephen Crofford (UTC) - 8-5
3. Pavels Grigorjevs/Jackson Tresnan (UTC) def. Brendan Dempsey/Blake Dunlap (GWU) - 9-8 (7-2)
1. Korhan Ates (GWU) def. Roberto Vieira (UTC) - 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 7-5
2. Chris Smith (UTC) def. Adam Knutsson (GWU) - 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (11-9)
3. Ankit Chopra (UTC) def. Ernest Albrech (GWU) - 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4)
4. Roman Piftor (GWU) def. M. Barroetavena (UTC) - 6-4, 5-7, 7-5
5. Jackson Tresnan (UTC) def. Joao Poli (GWU) - 6-2, 6-0
6. Brendan Dempsey (GWU) def. Stephen Crofford (UTC) - 6-0, 6-0