WINFIELD, Kan. – It came down to a freshman playing on the No. 1 singles court, but the Southwestern College men's tennis team notched a hard-fought non-conference win Friday afternoon. The Moundbuilders defeated the Eagles of Southwestern Christian University, 5-4, at the T.H. Vaughan Tennis Center in Winfield.
Southwestern Christian (2-3) scored the first point of the dual by winning the No. 1 doubles match in an 8-1 decision, but the Moundbuilders won each of the bottom two doubles courts to take a 2-1 lead into singles play. Franco Poi and Stephen Le evened the match at 1-1 after cruising past Truman Nguyen and Levi Coleman, 8-2, on the No. 3 court, while Sheldon Hawthorne and Javier Contreras held off SCU's Mitchell Vechione and Brady Matthews for a 9-8 (5) win on the No. 2 court.
Braden Baker pushed Southwestern's lead to 3-1 with a No. 6 singles win over Truman Nguyen (6-1, 6-0), and Sheldon Hawthorne gave the Builders a 4-1 lead when he ran past Brady Matthews for a 6-0, 6-3 victory on the No. 4 court. SCU stormed back with victories on the No. 3, No. 2 and No. 5 courts, respectively, and tied the dual at 4-4 when Levi Coleman topped Juan Esteban Ramirez in a third-set tiebreaker (2-6, 7-5, 10-6) after Ramirez succumbed to injury during the third set.
With the match tied at 4-4, the spotlight shifted to the No. 1 singles court, where Southwestern's Franco Poi was battling SCU's Mitchell Vechione. Poi claimed the first set, only to watch Vechione win the second set in a tiebreaker, 6-7 (6), which forced the entire dual match to be decided in a third set super-tiebreaker. Vechione jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the tiebreaker, but Poi gladly returned the favor, and then some. The freshman stormed back, and rallied past Vechione to secure the match for his team. Poi went on to win the third set, 10-7, and gave the Moundbuilders the 5-4 team win.
Friday's win moves Southwestern to 6-4 on the season. The Moundbuilders will return to action on Tuesday, traveling to Hesston, Kan., for a pair of exhibition matches. Southwestern will face Barton Community College at noon before facing the Larks of Hesston College at 4 p.m.
Southwestern 5, Southwestern Christian 4
1. Franco Poi (SWC) def. Mitchell Vechione (SCU) 6-2, 6-7 (6-8), 10-7
2. Diego Nino (SCU) def. Tomas Yacuzio (SWC) 6-4, 6-3
3. Jose Nino (SCU) def. Javier Contreras (SWC) 6-4, 6-3
4. Sheldon Hawthorne (SWC) def. Brady Matthews (SCU) 6-0, 6-3
5. Levi Coleman (SCU) def. Juan Esteban Ramirez (SWC) 2-6, 7-5, 10-6
6. Braden Baker (SWC) def. Truman Nguyen (SCU) 6-1, 6-0
1. Jose Nino/Diego Nino (SCU) def. Tomas Yacuzio/Juan Esteban Ramirez (SWC) 8-1
2. Sheldon Hawthorne/Javier Contreras (SWC) def. Mitchell Vechione/Brady Matthews (SCU) 9-8 (7-5)
3. Franco Poi/Stephen Le (SWC) def. Truman Nguyen/Levi Coleman (SCU) 8-2
Southwestern Christian 2-3