Marion, AL—The Marion Military Institute men's tennis team took to the courts for its first tennis match of the spring season and came away with a 9-0 loss to the East Central Community College Warriors at the Paul B. Anderson Tennis Complex.
The day started promising enough with the weather being near perfect for match play, but then the sky fell in on the Tigers. East Central's first two doubles teams blasted their way to enormous leads, with the Australian pair of Chris Lawrance and Isaac Santitto clubbing MMI's Blake Brown and Nathan Johnsen, 8-0, while on Court 2 ECCC's Dylan Barrett and Peyton Cheney surged to a commanding 5-1 lead before the Tiger duo of Dominique Ingram and Vance Llewellyn fought back, only to squander three match points and the match, 9-7. Meanwhile, on Court 3, MMI's Tom Chairs and Alex Matthews fought gallantly before falling 8-6.
"I thought the boys fought hard, especially in flights 2 and 3 doubles. Both of those matches could have gone either way. We were just outclassed at first doubles. I think as time goes by our doubles combinations will gel and excel," said Charles Wright, MMI's coach.
In singles action, ECCC swept the six singles flights. At No. 1 singles, Brown played a fine match, especially in the second set, in his 6-2, 7-5 loss to Lawrance; Ingram battled to a 6-2, 6-4 loss at No. 3 singles; Llewellyn lost a tight three-setter, 2-6, 6-4, 10-8, at No. 4 singles; and Matthews fell 6-4, 6-2 at No. 6 singles.
"I knew coming in that this match was going to be a great challenge for us," Wright said, "but the boys more than held their own. I was pleased with the doubles play. That play, in particular, surprised me. In singles, Brown will eventually rise to the top. He's a tough, hard-nosed kid. The other boys, with more match play under their belts, will learn to compete better and smarter. It's going to be an uphill climb for them. We'll see if they can live up to the saying, 'When the going gets tough, the tough get going.'"
The Tigers will now take to the road to face the University of West Alabama in a 3:00 p.m. exhibition match in Livingston on Tuesday, February 5.