Kennesaw State ends Jacksonville State’s win streak

Aljaz Kaplja competes in a singles match against Kennesaw State on March 12 where he was still able to keep the Gamecocks on the board with a 6-3,6-3 two-set win over KSU’s Harvey Conway. (Courtesy of JSU)Aljaz Kaplja competes in a singles match against Kennesaw State on March 12 where he was still able to keep the Gamecocks on the board with a 6-3,6-3 two-set win over KSU’s Harvey Conway. (Courtesy of JSU)

Josie Howell, Sports Editor

The Jacksonville State University’s men’s tennis team took a disappointing loss against Kennesaw State University 5-2 on Wednesday, March 11. This matchup against the Owls was the only the second loss for the Gamecocks thus far in the season. 

This came after the Gamecocks notched their fourth consecutive win of the season against Southern Miss 6-1 and had high hopes on continuing this streak.

The game started off with the Owls taking the doubles point over the Gamecocks. JSU’s Aljaz Kaplja and Thomas Norwood fell in the first doubles set to KSU’s Drew Lahey and Sebastian Osorio 6-3. This was followed by another set loss with JSU’s Guillermo Agost and Jordi Banchar and KSU’s Gaston Muhammad and Harvey Conway 6-4, notching the first point for the Owls.

However, Joaquin Vallejo and Sergio Lizarraga were able to put the Gamecocks back in the game with a 5-4 set win over Bryan Triana and Sergio Ingles

Right before the singles matches, the game was suspended due to rain. The two teams met up Thursday to finish up the match. Kennesaw State then went on to claim the win after winning four out of the six matches. 

Despite the loss, Kaplja was still able to keep the Gamecocks on the board with a 6-3,6-3 two-set win over Conway. 

The Slovenia native has been an integral player for the Gamecocks since his freshman year where he was named 2018 Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year, being the second Gamecock to be named OVC Freshman of the Year since creation of the award in 2005 and first since Scott Robertson in 2006.

The Gamecocks’ only other point throughout the matchup was from Norwood who won three sets over Osorio. Norwood currently has won all but one of his singles matches for the 2020 season. 

This was Norwood’s first year playing for the Gamecocks. Previously, he played for Hartford Community College where Norwood played No. 1 and was ranked sixth nationally in singles and seventh in doubles at the JUCO level. The London, England native will return for the 2021 season for this Junior year.

The remainder of the Men’s Tennis matchups have been canceled for the season since the outbreak of the Coronavirus in the United States. The Ohio Valley Conference has suspended all collegiate sports until the end of the academic year and all practices until April 3.

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