Junior Chris Smith (Johnson City, Tenn.) pulled off a three-set win at No. 3 to give the Mocs a 4-3 win at UNCG this afternoon. With its top player on the sideline and trailing 3-0, Chattanooga won the last four points to improve to 9-3 overall and 1-1 in Southern Conference action. It is the Mocs first win over the Spartans since 2007, snapping a four-match slide.
"Yesterday, we had chances to win and did not capitalize on them," stated Garcia. "We learned from that experience and it paid off today. Even down 3-0, I knew we were playing well, playing hard and were going to have a chance at the end."
Junior Roberto Vieira (Bedfordview, South Africa) injured his foot in the Elon match and was held out of the doubles today. Despite being down a two-time All-SoCon performer, the Mocs were in all three doubles matches.
UNCG won the point with a sweep, but each match went the distance. Junior Sam Parfitt (Norwich, England) stepped in for Vieira and teamed with junior Ankit Chopra (Chandigrah, India). They battled one of the top teams in the SoCon in UNCG's Orcun Seyrek and Ahmet Sarioglu to a 9-7 final.
Smith and fellow junior Manuel Barroetavena (Buenos Aires, Argentina) fell 8-6 at No. 2. Junior Jackson Tresnan (Apopka, Fla.) and freshman Pavels Grigorjevs (Riga, Latvia) lost 8-7 in a tiebreaker (7-4).
"We had two really good looks in doubles, so we felt good about that," said Garcia. "Sam Parfitt played well stepping in for Roberto at the last minute."
Vieria tried to go in singles, but retired after losing the first set 6-3. UNCG went up 3-0 when Sarioglu defeated Chopra (6-2, 6-1) at No. 2.
Barroetavena started UTC's comeback with his (6-3, 6-1) win at No. 4. He has won five straight and is now 7-2 at No. 4 this spring. Tresnan followed with a (6-3, 6-2) win over Cameron Smith at No. 5. For the second day in a row, Grigorjevs posted a three-set win to tie the match at three. After losing the first set, he defeated Jimmy Roueche (2-6, 6-4, 6-4) to take the outcome down to the final serve.
"We showed a lot of maturity today," stated Garcia. "We didn't panic and kept battling. We needed this win to stay in the conference race and we gutted one out today."
In the last match, Smith was battling Chanon Varpongsittikul. Varpongsittikul won the opening set 6-4, but Smith came back to win the second, 7-6 (7-1). Varapongsittikul held a 5-4 lead in the third set but Smith again had an answer, winning the final three games and closing with an ace for the 7-5, match-clinching win.
"Chris was a warrior," explained Garcia. "He was cramping badly at the end of the match. He had numerous break points in the third set, but could not get over the hump. He kept his composure and came out on top."
Smith evened his record at 9-9 overall and 8-4 in spring play. It was also the Mocs' ninth win of the season, their highest total since 2008.
Chattanooga returns home next weekend for a pair of home SoCon matches. UTC hosts Georgia Southern on Thursday, March 15, at 1:00 p.m. (E.D.T.) and Furman on Sunday, March 18, at 1:00 p.m. Both matches are scheduled for the UTC Tennis Courts.
Chattanooga 4, UNCG 3
1. Ahmet Sarioglu/Orcun Seyrek (UNCG) def. Ankit Chopra/Sam Parfitt (UTC) - 9-7
2. Randy Phillips/Chanon Varapongsittikul (UNCG) def. Manuel Barroetavena/Chris Smith (UTC) - 8-6
3. Jimmy Roueche/Cameron Smith (UNCG) def. Pavels Grigorjevs/Jackson Tresnan (UTC) - 8-7 (7-4)
1. Orcun Seyrek (UNCG) def. Roberto Vieira (UTC) - 6-3, retired
2. Ahmet Sarioglu (UNCG) def. Ankit Chopra (UTC) - 6-2, 6-1
3. Chris Smith (UTC) def. Chanon Varapongsittikul (UNCG) - 4-6, 7-6 (7-1), 7-5
4. Manuel Barroetavena (UTC) def. Randy Phillips (UNCG) - 6-3, 6-1
5. Jackson Tresnan (UTC) def. Cameron Smith (UNCG) - 6-3, 6-2
6. Pavels Grigorjevs (UTC) def. Jimmy Roueche (UNCG) - 2-6, 6-4, 6-4