Men's Tennis Defeats Grove City

Junior captain Matt Harris (Photo by Kyle Erickson)
Junior captain Matt Harris (Photo by Kyle Erickson)

BEREA, Ohio – On a hot and sunny afternoon on the Pop Collins Tennis Courts, the Baldwin Wallace University men's tennis team defeated the visiting Grove City (Pa.) College Wolverines.

All three doubles matches proved to be a tough test for the Yellow Jackets (2-0). On the far court, junior ITA Scholar Athlete Roger Boyer (Medina/Brunswick) and freshman Michael Benotti (Pittsford, N.Y./Pittsford Mendon) had a strong start at No. 3 doubles, up 5-2 before the Wolverines (1-4) won a few games to get back into the match. Under pressure, the duo did not waver and gave the Yellow Jackets their first point on the afternoon with an 8-5 win.

Junior All-Ohio Athletic Conference, Academic All-OAC and Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar Athletes Matt Harris (Akron/Revere) and Dominic Polifrone (Hudson) paired together at No. 1 doubles and struggled at the beginning before recovering momentum for an 8-5 victory, giving BW a 2-0 lead with one doubles match remaining.

Competing in the closest doubles match on the afternoon, senior Alex Papke (Federal Way, Wash./Thomas Jefferson) and sophomore ITA Scholar Athlete Jake Elbin (Findlay) went back and forth with Damon Deck and Miguel Esteban Diaz, sending the match into a tiebreak. Grove City came out victorious in the tiebreak 9-8(4) to earn its first point.

Harris carried the momentum from his doubles match into his No. 2 singles match and had a hot start, taking the first set 6-0 and was the first to finish in singles with a 6-2 second set. One court to his right, Polifrone also played a solid singles match, winning by scores of 6-1, 6-2 at No. 1.

Elbin, Benotti and Papke rounded out the scoring for the Yellow Jackets. Benotti won his No. 5 singles match by a score of 6-3, 6-1. Papke faced and saved two match points in the third set of his No. 6 singles match, rifling off the final four points in a 10-point tiebreaker to win 6-1, 1-6, 11-9. Meanwhile, Elbin played in the toughest singles match on court No. 3, winning the first set 6-4 but unable to find the break in the second set, eventually losing 7-6(2) in the tiebreak. Elbin rallied to take the 10-point tiebreaker in the third set 10-6, giving BW the 7-2 overall final score.

BW will play its first dual match on the road, traveling to New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, to take on non-conference opponent Westminster (Pa.) College on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 3 p.m.

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