Pittsburgh, Pa.— The Southern Virginia University men's tennis team came up just short to the nations' No. 14 team on Saturday evening, falling 5-4.
The Knights (4-1) had a strong outing in doubles as they won two of the three matches. Paul Monson and Marcos Dias finished first at No. 2, breaking their opponents in the final game of the match to earn an 8-6 win. Ethan Sherwood and Ben Spencer finished next, falling 8-6 at the No. 3 flight to the Tartans top two singles players.
Kukutla Motlojoa and Daniel Blonquist, who are currently ranked No. 9 in the country, were the last two on the court at the top spot. Locked in a tight match, the two found themselves down match-point in the deciding tiebreaker. Thanks to some late-match heroics from Blonquist, the Knights were able to save match point, and a perfect Motlojoa poach two points later sealed the deal as the nationally ranked duo earned an 8-7(6) victory.
In singles, Southern Virginia lost the first two matches finished, as Monson and Motlojoa fell 6-3, 6-2, and 6-3, 7-5 respectively. Daniel Blonquist finished next, taking down the No. 4 player from Carnegie Mellon 6-4, 6-3. Ben Spencer finished soon after Blonquist, giving up a 6-4, 6-0 defeat.
Finding themselves down 3-4, the Knights needed to win both remaining matches to have a shot at taking down the Tartans. Despite a resilient effort and a forced third set, Ethan Sherwood wasn't able to overcome his opponent, falling 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.
On a bright note for Southern Virginia, Marcos Dias, the top player for the Knights and the last match on the court, was able to earn a difficult 7-6, 2-6, 6-4 victory over Carnegie's top player, Ray Boppana. Dias, who is currently ranked No. 19 regionally is looking to climb the rankings, as Boppana is currently ranked No. 7 in the region, and top 30 nationally.
Southern Virginia will look to bounce back on Feb. 17, as they will travel to Blacksburg, Virginia to play against Division I Radford University at the Virginia Tech indoor courts.