The men’s tennis team defeated the Georgia Southern University Eagles 4-3 in their first dual match of the year at Gaither Athletic Center Courts Saturday morning.
The Rattlers started off with wins in all three of their doubles matches They also earned the one point awarded to the team that wins at least two of three doubles matches.
In the No.1 doubles match, Pfungwa Mahefu and Noel Wadawu, both natives of Zimbabwe, defeated GSU’s Lasha Janashia and Danie Van Den Heever 8-4.
Freshman Davin Russel and senior Kamua Murray joined forces to overcome the threat of the Eagles’ Noah Tyler and Uli Ebensperger 8-5 in a highly contested and intense match. La’Vaughn Munroe and Zurab Zhavina held the No.3 spot by winning 8-5 against Mark Finnegan and Vincent Patry.
The Rattlers began well in the singles matches in the first sets of nearly all of their singles matches. GSU put forth a solid effort to make every match competitive and won at positions three, four and six. Russel lost 5-7,4-6 to Van Den Heever and Noel Wadawu 1-6,6-0,2-6 to Ebensperger.
Murray won the first set of his singles match against Vincent Patry with ease but dropped the remaining sets to lose the match 6-2,4-6,5-7.
“I had a mental let down,” Murray said. “Whenever you win the first set so easily you start to support your team more and focus less on what you are doing which makes it hard to concentrate. I feel like I beat myself.”
Mahefu, Munroe and Zhavina contributed wins at the 1,2, and 5 spots with scores of (6-4,5-7,6-2)(6-2,7-6) and (6-2,4-6,6-3) respectively.
Munroe attributes his victory to his strength, size, skill and mental conditioning.
“The fact that I’m stronger than the average tennis player definitely gives me an advantage,” Munroe said.
“When I’m out there I’m in the zone. I play head games. I’ll do anything to win.”
GSU head coach Justin Miles said he has the utmost respect for the Rattlers.
“They are as tough as anybody we will play all year,” Miles said.
Fans can expect to see the Rattlers contend for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
“If we keep playing as well as we are and continue to get better as the season progresses we should win the MEAC with no problem,” said assistant coach LeTron Mason.
The Rattlers’ next home match will be Feb. 7 against Jacksonville University and Savannah State.