Men’s tennis continues win streak

Thomas Norwood hits the tennis ball in a singles match where the Gamecocks defeated Alabama State. Norwood claimed set wins in both singles and doubles matches that helped notch a Gamecock win. (Courtesy of JSU)Thomas Norwood hits the tennis ball in a singles match where the Gamecocks defeated Alabama State. Norwood claimed set wins in both singles and doubles matches that helped notch a Gamecock win. (Courtesy of JSU)

Sadie AppletonCorrespondent

The Jacksonville State University men’s tennis team are on a win streak after capturing their fourth straight win over Southern Mississippi this past Friday in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. It was the first meeting between the two since 2015.

In the 2015 meeting, the Gamecocks fell 4-0 to SMU. However, the matchup would be anything but the same. The Red and White dominated the Golden Eagles by winning the doubles point and five of six singles matches. 

This is the only the second time Jax State has defeated Southern Miss since the two met for the first time back in January of 2011. The two have met a total of seven times since. 

Following the faceoff, the Gamecocks improved their record to 9-1 while Southern Mississippi fell to 6-5. Sophomores Aljaz Kaplja and Thomas Norwood put Jacksonville up first by winning 6-2 at No. 2 over Alexander Gima and Matthieu Peres. 

Senior Guillermo Agost and junior Jordi Blanchar further increased JSU’s lead after defeating Vence N’Tcha and Christopher Cahour also with 6-2 at No. 3. When JSU claimed the point, junior Joaquin Vellejo and senior Sergio Lizarraga’s match at No. 1 went unfinished. 

All of but one of the singles match wins went to Jacksonville State. Additionally, Kaplja’s match was the only one that would reach three sets. Kaplja is the only remaining undefeated Gamecock to have competed in more than five matches this season. In his No. 5 bout, he defeated Antoine Androine 7-6, 3-6, 10-5.

Meanwhile at No. 1, Agost took home another victory 6-3, 6-4 over Alexander Gima. So far this season, all seven of his matches have come in the first position as he improved his record to 5-2 following the most recent win. Meanwhile, Vallejo, won 6-0, 6-4 against Hisiang Yi Wang at No. 2. The victory increased his overall record to 7-1 for the season. 

Winning 6-4 in both sets against Christopher Cahour at No. 4, a fresh-faced Dmitrii Vasilev took home the victory. Continuing the Gamecocks’ scoring drive, at No. 6 Blanchar put a two-set win over Emilio Bowen 7-6, 6-1. 

Jacksonville State would only fall once on the day as a result of the No. 3 match between Peres and Norwood, where the Londoner would fall 5-7, 2-6. It is the sophomore’s first loss this season.

The Jacksonville State University men’s tennis squad will continue their season this upcoming Wednesday, March 11, as they take on the Kennesaw State at home. The matches against the Owls are set to begin at 3 p.m. at the JSU Tennis Courts.

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