HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, Va. -- Dominating efforts in singles competition helped carry Virginia Wesleyan College's men's tennis team to an impressive 8-1 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) victory over the host Tigers of Hampden-Sydney College on Tuesday.
It was the first ODAC loss of the season in five outings for the Tigers, who dropped to 4-3 overall. Virginia Wesleyan, ranked No. 19 in the Atlantic South region in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll, moved into second place in the ODAC's regular-season standings with a 5-1 record.
The Marlins, who are now 9-3, swept singles, highlighted by straight set victories at five of the six flights. Rookie Kenny Downing (Washington, D.C./Home schooled)was forced into a three-set battle by Fitzhugh Johnson (Fredericksburg/James Monroe) at the No. 2 flight, but posted a thrilling win for his sixth straight win. Downing opened with a 7-5 win, dropped a 6-1 second set decision, and then outlasted Johnson 10-8 in the third to improve to 9-2 overall.
Sophomores Graham Wilson (Newport News/Menchville) and Tyler Chang (Hvre de Grace, Md./Tome School)won at No. 1 and No. 5, improving to 9-3 and 9-2, respectively. Wilson won 6-0, 6-2, and Chang posted a 6-2, 6-3 win. Sophomore Spencer Bullock (Lorton/South County) posted a 6-1, 6-2 decision at the No. 3 flight, sophomore Drew Tomajczyk (Chesterfield/Home schooled) won 6-3, 6-1 at No. 4, and rookie Brendan Kelleher (Baltimore/Towson)won 6-4, 6-0 at No. 6. It was the fifth straight win for Kelleher who is now 7-2 overall.
"Doubles were tough" said VWC Tennis Director Darryl Cummings, "but, we showed confidence and composure in singles."
Doubles play produced a trio of thrillers, highlighted by a victory at No. 1 by Wilson and Downing. H-SC's J.B. Weaver (Raleigh, N.C./Needham Broughton) and Johnson pused the VWC duo throughout the match, but the VWC duo pulled out a 9-8 (2-0) win to improve to 8-3 on the season.
Bullock and Change won 8-6 at the No. 2 flight for VWC, while H-SC recorded its lone win in the match at No. 3 where Lawrence Bowers (New Bern, N.C./Arendell Parrott Academy) and David Dodson (Roanoke/Cave Spring) tripped up Tomajczyk and Kelleher 8-5.
Virginia Wesleyan returns to competition on Friday, April 3, in ODAC play at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va. beginning at 3 p.m.