Principia College avenged a regular season loss to Greenville College by defeating the #1 seed 5-1 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) Men's Tennis Tournament to win their third straight title. Principia extends their conference record to 14 tournament titles.
Nearly one month ago Greenville handed Principia their first regular season conference loss in over two years, winning 5-4 but on Saturday it was Principia who kept Greenville from the program's first ever tournament title, winning 5-1.
Principia took the early lead when their #1 doubles team of Joey Sander and Brody Swan picked up an 8-2 win. The match was closer than the score indicated with the Greenville duo's powerful attacks. However the Principia team was able to guard the baseline and keep the ball alive. Greenville threatened to extend the match late, up 40-15. However Principia forced the score to deuce. Greenville held advantage in the set but once again it was a strong defense by Principia as Swan raced back to the baseline on a lob to keep the ball up, eventually netting the game winner on an unforced error.
Greenville quickly tied it up when the #2 doubles team of Code Power and Jonathan Urshan won 8-3. Power deftly maneuvered at the net all match long while Urshan ripped powerful shots from deep including the match winner down the line.
During the regular season it was Greenville's #3 team who picked up the key win that propelled them to victory but on Saturday this time, fortunes were reversed as the Principia team of Nat Kenworthy and Doug DuFur edged out Greenville 8-6 to put Principia up 2-1 after doubles action. The match was evenly played as Principia jumped out to a 5-2 lead. However Greenville duo Blake Gocey and Chris Heckman fought their way back into the match, tying the score at 6-6. Principia held serve to take the lead and avoided going into a tiebreaker when they broke Greenville serve, securing the 8-6 win.
Sander battled his way past Nate Wieland at #1 singles, winning 6-0, 6-0 and Brody Swan added a 6-4, 6-2 win at #4 singles to put Principia up 4-1 in the match and just one win away from match victory. That win came moments later when Jules Kitchingman outlasted Urshan 6-4, 6-0 to give Principia the five wins necessary to clinch the SLIAC tournament title.
Greenville was in fact winning in the three matches that went unfinished with Code Power up 7-5, 4-2 at #3 singles, Justin Tilford winning 2-6, 6-2, 4-2 at #5 singles, and Mason Tennell up 3-6, 6-2, 2-1 at #6 singles.