By Lancaster Brown
FREDERICKSBURG, Va.—The Southern Virginia University men's tennis team made its first appearance at the USTA ITA Southeast Regional Championships on Saturday at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va.
The Knights had a successful day with one doubles team and one singles player each respectively earning spots in the semifinals.
"This tournament was a great experience for our team," said Southern Virginia head coach Tony Caputo. "I am proud of our guys who stayed composed and were able to pull out some hard-fought victories. There were over 30 teams all playing very high-level tennis. With that type of competition some flaws rose to the surface and will help us in our practice planning for the year."
Freshmen Cooper Brown and Zac Bowers teamed up to compete as Southern Virginia's lone doubles team for the weekend. The duo faced Tyler Lee and William Sharp from Ferrum College in their first match and won by an 8-1 score. Following a delay, Brown and Bowers started their night match in a 2-0 hole, but responded by winning eight of the next ten games to earn their second victory of the day with a score of 8-4. Their efforts secured a spot in the semifinals.
Dallin Evans also found success by winning both of his matches fueled by strong first sets. The Safford, Ariz., native faced Derrick Eng of Muhlenburg College and won 6-2, 6-4 in the opening match. Facing Jason Wichert of Grove City College in the quarterfinals, Evans won the first set 6-0 and looked ready to cruise to an easy victory but Wichert fought back to force a tiebreak in the second set. In the end Evans prevailed with 6-0, 7-6 (7-1) scores to advance to the semifinals.
Brian Blocher performed well, winning his first match against Matt Hornbaker of Elizabethtown College 6-4, 6-2. Blocher then met Randolph Macon's Stuart McCrosky in the quarterfinals and lost 6-3, 6-2.
Men's tennis will be back in action Tuesday, Oct. 1, when the Knights go on the road to face Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Va. The match begins at 2 p.m.
USTA ITA Southeast Regional Championships
Zac Bowers / Cooper Brown (SVU) def. Tyler Lee / William Sharp (Ferrum) 8-1
Zac Bowers / Cooper Brown (SVU) def. Kaltrin Bullaj / Jake Greenstein (York ) 8-4
Round 16- Jeremy Novick (WC) def. Pradeep Ravisankar (SVU) 6-1, 6-3
Round 16- Dallin Evans (SVU) def. Derrick Eng (MC) 6-2, 6-4
Quarterfinal- Dallin Evans (SVU) def. Jason Wichert (GCC) 6-0, 7-6 (7-1)
Round 16- Thacher Jennings (HSC) def. Brennan Alford (SVU) 6-2, 6-0
Round 16- Brian Blocher (SVU) def. Matt Hornbaker (EC) 6-4, 6-2
Quarterfinal- Stuart McCrosky (RMC) def. Brian Blocher (SVU) 6-3, 6-2