CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – After a long marathon match, the UNCG men’s tennis team fell just short of reaching the Southern Conference finals with a 4-3 loss to Furman Friday afternoon at the Champions Club.
The Spartans finish the 2014 season with a 14-7 record after coming up short in the SoCon semifinals. Furman improves to 16-8 and heads to the SoCon finals after defeating UNCG 4-3 for the second time this season.
With the match tied 3-3, Smith won the first set 6-4 but lost the second set 4-6 against Horst. In the third set, Horst rallied back to defeat Smith, 7-5 to clinch the victory.
UNCG took a 1-0 lead in the match after winning a close tiebreaker at No. 3 doubles. Sophomore James Dougherty (Melbourne, Australia) and senior Ahmet Sarioglu (Ankera, Turkey/METU Development Foundation) defeated Matt Browne and Joel Cook, 8-6 at No. 1 doubles. The Paladins took an 8-4 victory at No. 2 doubles as Adam Steryous and Jacob Behal won against freshman Nazhone Wilkins (Burnsville, Minn./Homeschooled) and junior Randy Phillips (Snellville, Ga./Brookwood).
The doubles point came down to No. 3 doubles as sophomore Daniel Mack (Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland) and junior Cameron Smith (Jamestown, N.C./Ragsdale) pulled out a close 8-7 (7-3) victory against Alex Christ and Ben Horst.
In singles, Phillips won in straight sets against Luke Synn, 6-1, 6-3 at No. 3 singles to give UNCG a 2-0 lead. Phillips earns his 16th win of the spring season and has won four-straight matches.
Furman cut the lead to 2-1 after Cook defeated Mack in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2 at No. 4 singles. The Paladins tied the match at 2-2 after Juan Sheppard won in straight sets against Murray, 7-6, 6-4 at No. 5 singles.
The final three matches all went to three sets to decide the winner.
Sarioglu won the first set 6-3 against SoCon Freshman of the Year and No. 109 Steryous. Steryous won the second set 6-4 and took the third set 6-3 to give Furman a 3-2 lead.
Dougherty battled back after dropping the first set 2-6 against Browne before taking the second set 7-5. In the third set, Dougherty won 6-2 to even the match at 3-3.
Follow all the action about the 2013-14 UNCG men's tennis team on www.UNCGSpartans.com or on twitter @UNCGMTennis.