SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's tennis team picked up a win in its first match of the season, defeating Juniata College, 8-1, on Saturday morning at the Salisbury University Indoor Tennis Center.
The other doubles matches would not go so easily, with Salisbury, at one point, trailing in both. But the Sea Gulls would rally to win one and threaten in the other, taking a 2-1 lead through doubles play.
At the top doubles spot, senior Daniel Albers and junior Eric Spangler fell in a 2-0 hole after Spangler's first service game was broken. But the Sea Gull pair would rally, breaking serve to cut the deficit to 2-1. The duo would trail 4-3, but take a 5-4 lead before Juniata would break serve to draw even, 5-5.
The Sea Gulls would take the final three games of the match, breaking Matyas Kahout serve for a 6-5 lead and a quick service game for Albers put the Gulls on the brink of the win.
Albers would hit two winners on the first two points of Dean Polisena service game, and the Gulls would break, allowing just one point to the Juniata pair in the game.
The Eagles picked up their first point of the day at No. 2 doubles, but not without a fight from senior Demetri Vrahnos and junior Shanon Gunther. Down 4-1, the Salisbury pair would get within a game, at 4-3, but stumbled to fall behind 7-4. Vrahnos and Gunther had another push left, tying the match at 7-7, as Gunther held serve with a love game, and Salisbury saw a break-point chance in Sho Sato's service game, but he and Logan Moore would come back to force deuce and take the game, and the next for the 9-7 win.
Salisbury picked up two quick points in singles to take full control of the match, with Albers and Spangler winning at No. 1 and 2 to give the Sea Gulls a 4-1 lead.
Albers took a 3-0 lead in the first set of his match, before Polisena came back to make it 3-2, but Albers could grab the next three games for a 6-2 first set win, and he would take the next set by the same score.
Spangler grabbed a 6-0 win in the first set against Sato, and was down 3-2 in the second, but won the final four games for a 6-3 win.
Sophomore Grant Hudson sealed the match with a win at No. 6 singles. After finding himself down 4-3 in the first set, Hudson got a big late-set break to take the set, 6-4. He would drop the first game of the second set before rattling off six-straight to claim the match and seal the victory for the Sea Gulls, with the fifth point of the day.
Vrahnos kept things rolling at No. 3, topping Kahout, 6-3, 6-0 while Ngo grabbed a 6-1, 6-3 win at No. 5.
Gunther, playing at No. 4 singles, came back from a first-set defeat to top Bryan Gregory. Gregory took a 4-1 lead in the first set, and Gunther brought it back to 4-3, before falling, 6-3. In the second set, Gunther found his rhythm, for a 6-0 win and took the third-set super tiebreaker, 10-8.
The Sea Gulls return to action tomorrow, Sunday, February 22, hosting Bridgewater (Va.) College at the Indoor Tennis Center; that match is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.