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Men’s Tennis Wins Nailbiter over Otterbein to Advance to OAC Semifinals

Freshman Michael Benotti earned the clinching fifth point to send BW to the OAC semifinals
Freshman Michael Benotti earned the clinching fifth point to send BW to the OAC semifinals
BEREA, Ohio – The fourth-seeded Baldwin Wallace University men's tennis team won a nail biting 5-4 decision over Otterbein University in an Ohio Athletic Conference quarterfinal match at the Pop Collins Tennis Courts.
 
In tournament action, the overall match is decided when one team reaches five points. As soon as the winning team reaches the five points, all other matches still in progress are halted. Each match begins with three doubles matches followed by singles action until the five points are obtained.
 
BW (15-4 overall) advances to the OAC semifinals to take on top-seeded John Carroll University on Friday, May 4, at 4:30 p.m. at the Lindner Family Tennis Center down in Mason, Ohio, hosted by Ohio Northern University.
 
In a rematch of Saturday's match, Otterbein (10-10) played a little bit of a role reversal as the Cardinals held a 2-1 lead after winning both No. 2 and No. 3 doubles by identical 8-2 scores. Junior Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Scholar Athletes and All-OAC players Dominic Polifrone (Hudson) and Matt Harris (Akron/Revere) secured the Yellow Jackets' first point of the afternoon with an 8-3 victory at No. 1 doubles.
 
Needing to win four of the six singles matches to move on in the tournament, sophomore ITA Scholar Athlete Jake Elbin (Findlay) was able to even up the overall score at 2-2 when he walked away with a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 3. Junior ITA Scholar Athlete Roger Boyer (Medina/Brunswick) rewrote his result from Saturday, avenging his three-set loss on Saturday with a 6-0, 6-4 victory at No. 4 singles to give BW its first lead of the quarterfinal match at 3-2. Otterbein evened things up at 3-3 with a win at No. 6 singles but Polifrone regained a BW lead with his 6-2, 6-3 victory at No. 1, turning all eyes to the remaining two courts.
 
Harris and freshman Michael Benotti (Pittsford, N.Y./Pittsford Mendon) each dropped their first set. However, the Cardinals would need to win both matches but the Yellow Jackets only needed one final win. Shortly after Polifrone won his match, Benotti sent his match to a third set. Meanwhile, Harris kept battling at No. 2 singles all the way to a second set tiebreak, which he dropped as Otterbein tied the match up at 4-4. Benotti held a convincing lead in the third set, however, as the freshman won 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
 
The OAC Championship will be contested on Saturday, May 5, at 2 p.m. with the winners of Friday's semifinal matches facing off at Lindner.
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