BEREA, Ohio – In the team's season and home opener, the Baldwin Wallace University men's tennis team defeated Division II NAIA opponent Mount Vernon Nazarene University 8-1.
After graduating three of the team's top players last year, the Yellow Jackets (1-0) debuted a new lineup for both doubles and singles in the first match of the season. Junior Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar Athlete Roger Boyer (Medina/Brunswick) paired together with Michael Benotti (Pittsford, N.Y./Pittsford Mendon) at No. 3 doubles and secured the team's first match win on the season with a smooth 8-1 victory. At No. 2 doubles, senior Alex Papke (Federal Way, Wash./Thomas Jefferson) and sophomore ITA Scholar Athlete Jake Elbin (Findlay) earned BW's second point of the afternoon with an 8-0 win.
While courts No. 2 and No. 3 were wrapped up, All-Ohio Athletic Conference, Academic All-OAC and ITA Scholar Athlete juniors Matt Harris (Akron/Revere) and Dominic Polifrone (Hudson) were locked in a battle with Mount Vernon's top players. While Harris and Polifrone held an early advantage, Mount Vernon Nazarene (0-6) pulled away in the final games for an 8-5 win for its only point of the afternoon.
Singles play was highlighted by Benotti, Elbin and Papke, who only surrendered two games total across their three matches. Benotti recorded a 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 5 singles for his first collegiate singles win while Elbin and Papke each finished with 6-1, 6-0 victories at No. 3 and No. 6 singles, respectively.
After playing the toughest doubles match, Polifrone competed in the closest singles match on the afternoon as well. Mount Vernon's No. 1 player Danny Mayotte threw a lot of lobs at the junior; however, Polifrone was able to make the adjustment and won the match by a score of 7-5, 6-3.
BW will next hit the courts on Saturday, September 16, when it competes in the two-day Oberlin Invitational tournament over the weekend.