HARROGATE, Tenn. — The Lincoln Memorial University men’s tennis team returned to the court for the first time in well over a week by edging Anderson University 5-4 in South Atlantic Conference action on Friday afternoon. The Railsplitters move to 2-0 in league play and 3-1 overall, while Anderson was saddled with their first loss in the SAC this season, dropping to 5-1 in the league and 6-3 overall.
The Railsplitters put themselves in position to earn the victory by capturing two of the three matches in doubles play to kickoff the afternoon. In the top spot, Philipp Hoffmann and Alexey Minevskiy rolled past Abdoulaye Camara and Jerome Branker, 8-4, while Marcelo Alvim and Will Sparks also picked up an 8-4 triumph over Paul Calhoun and Krystof Gulbinovic in the second doubles slot. The Trojans salvaged one of the three doubles matches, as Daniel Gonzalez and Inaki Iriberry earned a commanding 8-0 win over Michael Koenen and Gabriel Martins in the third and final spot.
In singles play, the top three spots sealed the win for the Railsplitters with No. 1 Philipp Hoffmann setting the stage by taking a dominating 6-2, 6-2 victory over Gonzalez. Will Sparks came up on the winning end of a hard-fought match at the No. 2 spot, as he outlasted Camara, 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (10-8), to put LMU one win away from earning the victory. No. 3 Marcelo Alvim locked up that win with a 7-5, 6-3 triumph over Gulbinovic.
The final three singles matches fell to the Trojans, as Alexey Minevskiy and Gabriel Martins were outsted in straight sets and No. 6 Guilherme Rocha dropped a heartbreaker, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (10-7), to Danilo Faria.
In women’s play, Anderson rolled to an 8-1 win over LMU. The Lady Railsplitters fell to 2-1 on the season and 1-1 in the league, while the Trojans were bumped to 5-1 in the SAC and 7-2 overall.
The lone point of the match for the Lady Railsplitters came at the top singles spot, as Leah Donoff tallied a 6-1, 6-5 victory over Karen Ching. However, Lincoln Memorial fell in each of the final five singles matches. In the No. 2 position, Alexandra Granger suffered a straight-sets loss (6-2, 6-3) at the hands of Hannah Ecleberry, while Aura Penalosa also fell, 6-0, 6-2, in the third spot to Lindsay Gregory. No. 4 Jessica Baker, No. 5 Summer Robinson and No. 6 Kelsey Vinsant capped singles play for the Lady Railsplitters by falling on the losing end of straight-set defeats.
Prior to singles competition, Lincoln Memorial was bested in doubles play, as the Trojans triumphed in all three of those contests. In the top spot, Donoff and Elena Vasilyeva’s match was halted early following an injury to Vasilyeva which forced her to the sidelines for the remainder of the afternoon. In the third spot, Baker and Granger battled tough but came up empty, dropping an 8-6 decision to Lauren Trumbull and Ecleberry to give Anderson the sweep in doubles.
The LMU tennis teams are set to return to the court on Sunday with a trip to Lenoir-Rhyne University on tap. LMU will square off against the Bears in a South Atlantic Conference duel poised to kickoff at 1 p.m. in Hickory, N.C.