Tennis 'Cats Earn 5-3 Win Over Mercyhurst (Pa.)

Tennis 'Cats Earn 5-3 Win Over Mercyhurst (Pa.)

BUCKHANNON -- West Virginia Wesleyan men's tennis team christened their new tennis complex with a 5-3 comeback win over Mercyhurst Sunday.

The 'Cats even their record at 5-5 on the year going into MEC conference play starting this week.

Trailing 2-1 after doubles and down one set at the top three singles spots, the Bobcats rallied to victory behind tough performances from Lukas Laipold, Ramon Rodriguez and Jacobo Rendon.

After Rodriguez and Pedro Nassar got the 'Cats on the board with a win at No. 3 doubles, Ferran Berga and Alexander Lyudinovskiy each won quick decisions to pull Wesleyan ahead 3-2.

The Lakers (11-7) took the first set at each of the top three positions however, seizing back the momentum and setting the stage for Rendon and Laipold.

Rendon closed out Sebastien Pardo at No. 4 singles in a grueling 7-6 (5), 6-4 affair bringing the Bobcats to the brink of victory. Meanwhile, Nenad Terzik clamed a 76 (1), 6-4 result of his own at No. 1 over Wesleyan's Nathan Sabate to make the score 4-3 with two matches remaining.

Laipold and Rodriguez both fought back to split sets with their opponents to swing the energy back to the Bobcats.

Finally, after a three hour battle, Laipold clinched the deciding fifth point by outlasting Laker senior Joaquin Aguilera, who was forced to retire due to cramping at 5-7, 7-5, 3-1.

"That was an important result for our guys today and we were very fortunate to pull it out," said head coach Marc Walters. "Every guy dug in and were willing to go deep into their first sets to help us get back in the match, and in the end we held up really well despite not having played as much as we normally would have by now. Hopefully this is something we can build on going into this week's matches."

Mercyhurst, which had previously knocked off MEC front runner Fairmont State on Friday and Charleston on Saturday, was playing their third match in as many days on the road trip.

The match was also the first ever on their new courts for the Bobcat men, who are seeking their 10th consecutive bid to the NCAA tournament this year. An energetic crowd of more than 75 supported the 'Cats throughout the day.

A day earlier, the Bobcats went indoors to Morgantown to face Edinboro (Pa.). The 'Cats lost a 5-2 decision. 

Earning the two wins were Liapold at No. 2 and Rodriguez at No. 3 singles.

The Bobcats visit MEC leader Fairmont State on Tuesday, before returning home to host West Virginia State University Thursday at 5 p.m.


(Photo courtesy of Peter Galarneau Jr.)