OTTAWA, Kan. – The Southwestern College men's tennis team took another step toward a Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament berth win another road win Thursday afternoon. The Moundbuilders defeated the Braves of Ottawa University, 7-2, at Forest Park in Ottawa.

The match wasn't as lopsided as the final score may have indicated. Ottawa (5-10, 3-1 KCAC) jumped out to a 2-1 lead after the doubles competition. The Braves won the No. 3 court in an 8-1 decision over Braden Baker and Juan Esteban Ramirez, and claimed the No. 2 court over Stephen Le and Franco Poi, 8-5, but Sheldon Hawthorne and Tomas Yacuzio battled back to avoid the double sweep. Hawthorne and Yacuzio overcame a 4-1 deficit, and rallied to win the top doubles match by an 8-4 decision, and cut the Ottawa lead to 2-1 heading into singles play.

Braden Baker opened a Moundbuilder singles sweep when he cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Virgil Reed on the No. 4 court, and evened the match at 2-2. Freshman Stephen Le followed with a 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 5 over Brandon Edwards. Hawthorne overcame a 4-1 first-set deficit, and rallied for a 7-5, 6-3 decision over Raj Selvaraj on the No. 3 court, while Yacuzio rallied from a first-set loss to defeat Joshua Hache, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 2. Franco Poi won the top singles match in a 6-1, 6-1 win over Mekasha Tadious, while Juan Esteban Ramirez rallied from a first-set loss to defeat Bobby Vo, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

"All of our freshmen battled hard today," head coach Jason Speegle said. "I thought we took a big growth step with the way we battled."

With the win, Southwestern improves to 9-10 on the season, and 2-3 in KCAC play. The Moundbuilders will return to action Saturday, hosting the Threshers of Bethel College. First serve is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the T.H. Vaughan Tennis Center.

Southwestern 7, Ottawa 2
Singles competition

1. Franco Poi (SWC) def. Mekasha Tadious (OTT) 6-1, 6-1
2. Tomas Yacuzio (SWC) def. Joshua Hache (OTT) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
3. Sheldon Hawthorne (SWC) def. Raj Selvaraj (OTT) 7-5, 6-3
4. Braden Baker (SWC) def. Virgil Reed (OTT) 6-1, 6-2
5. Stephen Le (SWC) def. Brandon Edwards (OTT) 6-3, 6-4
6. Juan Ramirez (SWC) def. Bobby Vo (OTT) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3

Doubles competition
1. Sheldon Hawthorne/Tomas Yacuzio (SWC) def. Mekasha Tadious/Raj Selvaraj (OTT) 8-4
2. Brandon Edwards/Bobby Vo (OTT) def. Stephen Le/Franco Poi (SWC) 8-5
3. Joshua Hache/Virgil Reed (OTT) def. Braden Baker/Juan Ramirez (SWC) 8-1

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