Saints hold off Bobcat rally, 5-4

Box score

SUMTER, S.C. --- The second-seeded Limestone College men's tennis team edged third-seeded Lees-McRae College by a tally of 5-4 on Saturday in the semifinal round of the Conference Carolinas Tournament, advancing to Sunday's championship match at the Palmetto Tennis Center after holding off a late surge by the Bobcats.

Limestone's (17-5) top-flight duo of Jordan Vicain and Miguel Lopez Zuniga opened the day with an 8-4 victory over Lees-McRae's (8-9) tandem of Nandor Solymosi (Drebecen, Hungary) and Travis VanHoy (Olin, N.C.), before Mike Stephenson and Rafael Ferla defeated Pedro De Sousa Nunes (Florianopolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil) and Graham Battle (Boone, N.C.) by a tally of 8-1. Alexander Hayes (Mexico City, Mexico) and Callum Loveridge (Ashbourne, England) cut the margin to 2-1 with an 8-2 win against Abraham Lascari Diaz and Daniel Lopez.

Zuniga answered with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) win over Solymosi at No. 1 singles, before Ferla pushed the lead to 4-1 with a 6-1, 6-1 victory against Hayes. Nunes countered with a 6-1, 6-1 win of his own against Vicain to kick start the rally, as Loveridge cut the lead to 4-3 with a hard-fought 7-5, 6-4 victory over Diaz. Battle evened the match at 4-4 at No. 6 singles, battling back for a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 win over Lopez before Stephenson delivered the deciding point for the Saints with a 6-0, 3-6, 6-4 victory against VanHoy.

Lees-McRae is expected to return eight letter-winners from this year's squad, including Nunes, who was named to the all-Conference Carolinas Third Team this season. The Bobcats posted an 8-9 record this season, playing a demanding schedule that featured five matches against NCAA Division I opponents.

- LMC -