FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – The Capital Athletic Conference men's tennis championship match on Thursday between the University of Mary Washington and Salisbury University was the epitome of a great tennis match – the conference champion was ultimately decided by the third set of the No. 1 singles match.
The top-seeded Eagles and third-seeded Sea Gulls were neck-and-neck as senior Andrew Nottage and Mary Washington's Sam Wichlin waged battle at No. 1 singles. Nottage took the first set, 7-6, before dropping the second set 4-6. The back-and-forth third set was a fight to the end, with the 7-6 (8-6) decision going to Nottage, but the maroon and gold were just a single match victory short and Mary Washington (16-10) earned its 12th-straight CAC title by a tight score of 5-4.
Three of the six singles matches went to three sets; junior Daniel Barnas earned the Sea Gulls' other individual match victory, falling behind after the first set but coming back with a pair of 6-3 wins in the second and third sets to take the "W" at No. 3 singles.
The Sea Gulls (15-8) took two of three doubles matches. Nottage and Barnas teamed up at No. 1 to earn the 8-5 win, while senior David Lupinetti and sophomore Henry Stuhler earned an 8-2 victory at No. 2.
Salisbury finishes as the CAC tournament runner-up for the sixth-straight year; the Sea Gulls have squared off against the Eagles in each of those six years. Tonight's match denoted the smallest margin of victory in the conference championship for Mary Washington since 2006.