SUMTER S.C. - The Belmont Abbey men's tennis team earned a come-from-behind 5-4 win against the #3 seeded Limestone Saints this afternoon in the Conference Carolinas semifinals. The win improves the Crusaders' record to 21-12. Limestone is 11-8.
Zach Blythe and Grant Goldin got The Abbey an 8-6 win at #2 doubles, after trailing 6-3. The Crusaders lost the other two doubles matches, putting them in a 2-1 deficit heading into singles play.
At #3 singles, junior James Delaney earned a 6-3, 7-6 win. After that, the freshman trio of George Barfoot, Zachary Blythe, and Carlos Nolasco all tallied wins in their matches. Barfoot ended his match the fastest, with a 7-5, 6-1 victory at #4. Nolasco lost the first set at #6, but came back to win in the tiebreaker.
1. Federico Garnier (LC) def. Juan Baez (BAC) 6-0, 6-2
2. Stefano Soares (LC) def. Grant Goldin (BAC) 6-2, 7-5
3. James Delaney (BAC) def. Guillermo Ortega (LC) 6-3, 7-6
4. George Barfoot (BAC) def. Pierluigi Neri (LC) 7-5, 6-1
5. Zachary Blythe (BAC) def. Luka Stanec (LC) 6-4, 7-6
6. Carlos Nolasco (BAC) def. Enrique Moreno (LC) 3-6, 6-4, 6-1
1. Federico Garnier/Stefano Soares (LC) def. George Barfoot/James Delaney (BAC) 8-2
2. Zachary Blythe/Grant Goldin (BAC) def. Pierluigi Neri/Guillermo Ortega (LC) 8-6
3. Enrique Moreno/Luka Stanec (LC) def. Tomas Pardo/Michal Rapsik (BAC) 8-6
Head Coach Michael Salomon commented on today's victory, stating: "Today was a comeback unlike any I've experienced in any sport as a player or Coach. We got down 4-1 quickly and were very lucky to even be in that position, sneaking out the #2 doubles win after being down 3-6. Then, we scratched and clawed our way back into the match one point as a time until we had an opportunity to close them out at #3 singles, which we were fortunate to be able to take advantage of. The guys were unrelenting today in their desire and in their effort to dig a little bit deeper and fight a little bit harder when it got tight. Tons of credit goes to the Limestone squad today for pushing us to our limits and pushing us harder than we've been pushed all year. We never felt comfortable today, and that's a good experience for us to have in preparation for tomorrow. We're really looking forward to a spirited match tomorrow against Barton and a lot of intense battles all along the singles and doubles line-ups."
Belmont Abbey will compete against the #4 seed Barton tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. for the Conference Carolinas Championship.