HILTON HEAD, S.C. – Facing its toughest competition this season to date, the Baldwin Wallace University men's tennis team fell to Lynchburg (Va.) College 6-3 at the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center.
Excitement built before the match even began as various family members and friends arrived to surprise the Yellow Jackets. Senior Alex Papke's (Federal Way, Wash./Thomas Jefferson) sisters flew in from Seattle to catch their first tennis match of his entire college career while junior Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Scholar Athlete Roger Boyer (Medina/Brunswick) was surprised by his BW academic advisor.
BW (8-1) held a 2-1 lead after doubles thanks to wins from No. 1 and No. 3 doubles while Lynchburg (3-4) won at No. 2 doubles. Junior ITA Scholar Athletes and All-Ohio Athletic Conference players Dominic Polifrone (Hudson) and Matt Harris (Akron/Revere) played a solid match at one doubles and walked away with an 8-5 win for the Yellow Jackets first point. Boyer and freshman Michael Benotti (Pittsford, N.Y./Pittsford Mendon) won the crucial second doubles point in a 7-5 tiebreaker for a nailbiting 9-8 final score.
Lynchburg rallied in singles, winning five of the six matches for a comeback victory. Even though the Yellow Jackets dropped those five matches, the set scores were close with five tiebreakers being contested. Benotti secured BW's only singles point despite dropping the first set 6-4. The freshman began his personal comeback with a 6-2 second set and then sealed things up in the tiebreaker third set for an overall score of 4-6, 6-2, 10-8.
BW will play one more match in Hilton Head on Wednesday, March 7, at 8:30 a.m. against St. John Fisher (N.Y.) College at the Hilton Head Beach & Tennis Resort in a dual match with the women's team.