Marion, AL—The Marion Military Institute Tigers played some lackadaisical and lackluster tennis on Saturday morning and paid the price with a 5-4 loss to Oxford College of Emory University, the 2015 NJCAA Division III champion.
MMI secured wins on courts 1 and 3 in doubles to take a 2-1 lead going into singles play. The Tiger tandem of Andrew Wright and Harrison Foster on court 1 overcame some sloppy play early to notch the last three games of the set for an 8-6 win. Court 3 action saw the Tiger duo of Xavier Bell and Blake McDonald come away with an 8-3 decision over Oxford Emory's Shams Sohani and Arshay Raghuram.
"We squeaked out the point at first doubles and played solidly at third doubles to go ahead 2-1 in the match," said head coach Charles Wright, "but we weren't out of the woods yet. In fact, we stayed in the woods for the rest of the match. We couldn't have started the singles matches in worse shape than we did. We didn't win a game in singles matches 1 through five until the fourth or fifth games of each of those matches. When you do that, especially against a solid team like Oxford Emory, it's going to be a long, frustrating day. Very long and very frustrating."
The two bright spots in singles play for the Tigers were Ben Lee's fine play at No. 6 singles. Lee came up with a solid 6-2, 6-2 win, and Harrison Foster had enough moments of brilliance in his match at No. 2 singles to clinch MMI's second singles point of the match, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
"I was impressed with the play of Ben Lee," Wright said. "He played just steady, rock-solid tennis throughout his match. Harrison Foster's match, on the other hand, was a roller-coaster affair throughout. Harrison was down 4-0 before he knew what hit him. He then reeled off six straight games to take the first set. He lost the next set, 6-2, and then finished off the topsy-turvy match with a 6-3 third-set decision."
The Meridian Community College Eagles and Lady Eagles will visit the Marion Military Institute campus on Monday, February 8. Both matches have a 1:00 p.m. start time.