The Principia College men's tennis team extended their St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament title streak to four after a 5-0 win over Greenville College in the championship match. Despite the 5-0 score, the championship match was a battle between the conference's two Panthers.
Principia had defeated Greenville 6-3 in the regular season but it was Greenville that took two of three doubles matches in that meeting before seeing Principia fight back to take the win in singles action. Today, however, Principia did not a single doubles match go, sweeping all three matches.
The premier doubles match turned out to be the #1 matchup between Principia's Brody Swan and Greg Sovie and Greenville's Nate Wieland and Justin Tilford. The Principia duo fell behind early in the match before grabbing a 7-4 lead. However, as with the days theme, Greenville did not go down without a fight. Greenville fought their way back to make the score 7-6, breaking Principia's serve. Principia jumped on top with the first two points in the next game to propel them to the 8-6 win. The #3 doubles team of Peter Griswold and Dan Wagstaff also avenged their regular season loss by winning their match 8-4.
Holding a 3-0 lead after doubles, Principia entered their six singles matches needing just two wins to secure the tournament title. Nat Kenworthy was the first Principia player to notch a singles win. Kenworthy held a slight edge, 3-2, over Tilford with each player countering game points. Kenworthy was finally able to pull away, winning the final three games and taking the match 6-2 and 6-2.
Two more singles matches had the chance to be the title-winning match, but Greenville spoiled the Principia players hopes at the bragging rights. After dropping the opening set Greenville's Austin Burkhart fought his way to a 5-4 lead in the second set at #4 singles. In similar fashion after Brock Renshaw fell in his opening set in #5 singles he delayed the title celebration by winning 6-2 in the second set and forcing a third set.
The title-clinching match came down to #2 singles where Greg Sovie picked up a 6-0, 6-4 win. Sovie fell behind 2-1 at the start of the second set but jumped ahead and held a 4-3 lead with serve. However, Blake Gocey did not quite and fought his way back, breaking Sovie's serve and tying the set at 4-4. However, an unforced error to close out the next game gave Sovie the edge once again and allowed him to close out for a 6-4 win.
The tournament title marks Principia's 15th SLIAC Men's Tennis Tournament title in program history.
Earlier in the day Westminster College defeated Webster University 5-0 in the third place match. Westminster took all three doubles matches, including a thrilling come from behind win in #2 doubles where Peter Hasenmueller and Reese Hicks came back from a 4-1 deficit to win 9-8. Adam Fuchs tallied a singles win at the top spot and Scott Strough edged out his teammates to secure the match winner, winning 6-3 and 6-1 at #3 singles.