Tigers Finish 21st at NJCAA National Tennis Tournament

Tigers Finish 21st at NJCAA National Tennis Tournament

Plano, TX—Without the services—as well as returns, overheads, ground strokes, volleys, and drop shots—of their No. 1 player, the MMI Tigers produced enough points (8) to finish as the 21st-ranked team in the nation during the 2018 NJCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championship.  The five-day event, stretching from Monday, May 14 through Friday, May 18, was held at Collin College's 12-court tennis facility.

In opening-round play, Isaiah Polk downed Mesa's Scott Mantelman in two grueling sets, 7-5-6-4, at No. 3 singles.  At No. 6 singles, Vance Llewellyn played some solid tennis in his match against Copiah-Lincoln's Sebastian Harrell, prevailing 6-2, 6-2.  Chris Lee and Kai Tougas produced MMI's final first-round points by dispatching Lake County's No. 1 doubles pair of Alec Munro and Brandon Reichel, 6-0, 7-5.

Kai Tougas lost a hard-fought 6-2, 7-5 match to Iowa Central's Antony Lekoko at No. 4 singles, and Connor Higginbotham lost a close three-setter to Mississippi Gulf Coast's Reid Cudd, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 5 singles.

In consolation matches, Higginbotham picked up a point by defeating Prairie State's Zack Perez, 6-1, 6-1, and Higginbotham then paired up with Polk at No. 2 doubles to win a pair of matches against Pima State's Francisco Sotelo and Jonathon Wu, 6-3, 7-6 (4) and Lake County's Alex Tobias and Octavio Valazquez, 6-0, 6-4.

Vance Llewellyn and Justin Matthews lost a 2-6, 7-5, 10-8 nail-biter to Prairie State's Charles Granston and Zack Perez.

"All in all, the boys stepped up in a difficult situation and played competitively throughout the tournament," said MMI coach Charles Wright.  "We had to move Chris and Kai up to No. 1 doubles and create two new doubles teams on the fly—Isaiah and Connor at No. 2 doubles and Vance and Justin at No. 3 doubles.  In singles, the rule book allowed us to place Nathan Johnsen at the No. 1 singles position and keep the rest of the singles lineup intact.  With all the spur-of-the-moment changes we had to make, I thought the boys played very well indeed." 


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