The Johnson University Men's tennis team found themselves in an early hole Saturday afternoon at Midway College and despite a furious comeback, couldn't quite pull out the win.
The Johnson University Men's tennis team traveled to Midway, Kentucky on Saturday where they faced up against the Eagles of Midway College. The afternoon started out with a pair of close doubles matches at both the number 1 and number 2 position. The number one pair of Nordstrom and Byington mounted a comeback from down 7-2 only to fall 8-5. The second pair of Ethan Smith (SR/Danville, KY) and Michael Rhodenbaugh (JR), however, thrived with big serving and crisp net play to take the match 8-6.
Singles would start off with a tough loss at the number one spot putting the Royals down 4-1, needing to sweep the final four matches to pull off the comeback. With all four matches on, the Royals began to fight. The first point came when Senior Ethan Smith put away an angled forehand volley to defeat his foe 6-3, 6-4. Junior Jordan VandenHeuvel made quick work of his opponent winning 6-1, 6-2 with a combo of big serving and tricky spin. The comeback would continue on court three as Junior Michael Rhodenbaugh rushed the net on his opponent to win 6-1, 6-2. For the second straight match, the 4-4 tie came down to court 2 and the shoulders of Freshman Carson Byington (FR/Knoxville, TN). The two would duel it out trading games and forehands with each other attempting to wear the other down. The match would continue into a second set tiebreak where single points can change the course of the match. In the end, the comeback would fall short and court 2 would fall 6-3, 7-6.
Coach Hale was again upbeat after the match despite the loss. "This is a lot of pressure to put on a Freshman in his first couple of matches, but he is definitely growing as a player through this whole process. In this match, he was significantly better emotionally and mentally under pressure and it is just a matter of time before he is able flip the switch and these matches will be going the other way. Today was still a good day, especially for Ethan and Rhodie (Rhodenbaugh), they stepped up and got the big win in doubles and then took care of business in singles. Jordan also played very efficiently for the second straight match."
The Royals finish up their fall season this upcoming weekend at the Ferrum College Invitational.