Bulldogs rally for SAC title-clinching victory at Mars Hill Wednesday
Mars Hill, N.C.----The Wingate University men’s tennis team rallied for a 5-4 South Atlantic Conference victory over Mars Hill College at the Hart Tennis Complex Wednesday. The Bulldogs win their 24th straight SAC regular season contest and clinch their second consecutive league title. Wingate is 15-5 overall and 9-0 in the SAC. Mars Hill slips to 7-10 overall and 3-5 in the SAC.
“We were down early…and we battled back,” Wingate head coach Michael Cabana says. “Our guys stepped up and played well. We knew what was at stake…this is a huge victory for us.”
Wingate was down 4-2 after Mars Hill junior Lucas Simm (Curitiba, Brazil) outlasted Bulldog senior Drew Owen (Kitchener, Ontario) 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 at the number two singles flight. Two freshmen and one sophomore went to work for the visitors, claiming three victories on courts five, four and six to give the Bulldogs their regular season crown.
Sophomore Ryan Forbes (Charlotte, N.C.) started the rally with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Mars Hill freshman Michael Melvill (Alberta, Canada) at the number five position. Forbes was the only Bulldog to win twice Wednesday, as he teamed with freshman Diego Martinez (Queretaro, Mexico) to claim a point at the number three doubles flight.
Bulldog freshman Neal Towlson (Warwick, Bermuda) tied the match 4-4 with his 6-2, 6-1 triumph over MHC sophomore Guilherme Lima (Sao Paulo, Brazil) on court number four. Wingate freshman Josh Eardley (Newcastle, Staffordshire, England) won the decisive match for the visitors. He defeated Lion junior Zach High (Columbus, N.C.) 6-2, 6-1 at the number six singles flight.
Cabana gives his seniors (Owen, Flavio Rathsam and Matt Lichtenstein) much credit for the team’s 24-match SAC regular season winning streak. “This streak is a testament to our senior leadership,” Cabana says. “They have worked hard…and served as great role models for our younger players. Our team never quits…and this never-say-die attitude comes from our seniors.”
Wingate 5, Mars Hill 4
1. Flavio Rathsam (WU) def. Euquerio Guerrero (MHC) 6-3, 6-4
2. Lucas Simm (MHC) def. Andrew Owen (WU) 6-2, 4-6, 6-2
3. Enrico Patriarca (MHC) def. Diego Martinez (WU) 6-1, 7-5
4. Neal Towlson (WU) def. Guilherme Lima (MHC) 6-2, 6-1
5. Ryan Forbes (WU) def. Michael Melvill (MHC) 6-3, 6-1
6. Josh Eardley (WU) def. Zach High (MHC) 6-2, 6-1
1. Guerrero/Patriarca (MHC) def. Rathsam/Towlson (WU) 8-3
2. Simm/Lima (MHC) def. Owen/Eardley (WU) 8-5
3. Martinez/Forbes (WU) def. Melvill/High (MHC) 8-2
Mars Hill 7-10, 3-5 SAC
Wingate 15-5; 9-0 SAC; Regional ranking #7
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (1,3,2,5,4,6)