Stowe, VT - The Northern Vermont University-Lyndon and Northern Vermont University-Johnson men's tennis teams met at Topnotch Resort on Wednesday, with both teams seeking their first win of the season. The Badgers prevailed by the slimmest of margins, coming away with a 5-4 victory. It was Johnson's first win in eight matches, while Lyndon remains winless in ten starts.
The Hornets jumped out to a quick advantage in the match when the first doubles team of Patrick Wickstrom (Lafayette, LA) and Neal Mulligan (Marshfield, VT) made quick work of the Johnson duo of Austin Walters and John Folsom, coming away with an 8-2 win. Abukar Hassan (Kenya) then posted a har fought 7-5, 6-2 win over Johson's Patrick Bell in #6 singles, and Mulligan bested Folsom 6-1, 6-2 in second singles, giving the Hornets a 3-0 advantage.
Johnson took their first win of the day when Trevor Newton and Kenneth Chandler defeated Lyndon's Mukhtar Sheikh Abdullahi (Mogadishu, Somalia) and Kyle Leighton (Burrillville, RI), 8-5, at second doubles. The Hornets countered when Wickstrom took a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Walters at #1 singles, putting the Hornets in front 4-1.
Johnson clombed back in the match when Donnell Shaw and Bell picked up an 8-2 win over Jeremy Polonia (Lynn, MA) and Hassan at #3 doubles. Newton and Chandler then knocked off Abdullahi and Leighton in third and fourth singles respectively, squaring the match at 4-4.
The outcome hionged on the final match of the day, the #5 singles contest between Polonia and Shaw. With Polonia in front 6-4, a curfew on the court at Topnotch necessitated that the match be shortened to an eight game pro set match. Shaw and Polonia then traded games on service to make it 7-5. Shaw then ran off three games in a row to take an 8-7 lead, but Polonia battled back to take the next game and move the match into a seven point tiebreaker. In the tiebreaker, Shaw took a quick 5-1 lead, but Polonia ran off four straight points to even things at 5-5. Shaw had match point at 7-6 and 8-7, but Polonia was able to pull out both points. Then Polonia had a match point of his own at 9-8, but this time it was Shaw that was able to hold off Polonia. Shaw then captured the next two points to win the tiebreaker, 11-9, and give the match to Johnson.
The two teams will face each other again on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 pm at Johnson. This timme it will be a North Atlantic Conference matchup, with the winner earnign a spot in the NAC Championship Tournament on Saturday, April 27th.