Bobcats rally for 5-4 win over Catawba

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Joao Araujo (Curitiba, Puerto Rico) and Taduez Poplawski (Asheville, N.C.) rallied for a pair of three-set victories to lead the Lees-McRae College men's tennis team to a come-from-behind 5-4 win over Catawba College on Friday afternoon in the first matches played at the recently refurbished Lees-McRae tennis complex.

Lees-McRae's tandem of Araujo and Poplawski kicked off doubles play with an 8-6 victory over Catawba's duo of Pierce Hoover and Michael Patch, as Carlos Pinel (Vitoria, Espírito Santo, Brazil) and Brandon Lane gave the Bobcats a 2-0 advantage with an 8-5 decision against Matthew Nicholson and Aaron Vanhorenbeck. Jack Mordey and Iago Montero Nunez defeated Hang Lak Choi (Newton, N.C.) and Garrett Lakey, 8-4, in the third flight.

The afternoon's competition hit another gear in singles play, with each match going to at least a second-set tiebreak, including five three-set pairings. Nunez evened the tally at 2-2 for Catawba with a 6-1, 7-6 (7) victory over Choi in the fifth flight. Vanhorenbeck and Mordey gave the Catawba Indians a 4-2 lead with three-set wins against Lakey and Lane, respectively, before the Bobcats answered, cutting the advantage to 4-3 when Pinel held on for a 6-4, 6-7 (9), (10-8) win over Patch at No. 4 singles.

The stage was then open for Araujo, who took the first set of his match against Hoover, 6-0, and after dropping the second by a tally of 6-3, claimed the third with an identical spread to even the score at 4-4 for the Bobcats. Poplawski answered the call in the second flight, taking the first and third sets by scores of 6-4 to cap the rally and give Lees-McRae a pivotal 5-4 victory.

- LMC -