The Florida A&M men’s tennis team was defeated by South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, SC, Saturday afternoon with a final score of 5-2.
The Rattlers are officially ranked No. 2 in the Southern division of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The team is still in the top percentage of the MEAC Round-up with a season record of 15-6.
The loss will not affect the team’s chances at the MEAC championship at the end of April. They will also have the opportunity to settle the score against SCSU. They are expected to play the team during the championship.
“We played okay they were just much more consistent,” team member Takura Happy said.
The team was unable to secure the doubles point despite the return of injured player Levan Clark. Happy and Chidi Gabriel were defeated by Gabriel Meana and Peteris Vinogradous 8-6. Temuera Asafu-Adjaye and Maurice Wamokowa were defeated by Dmytro Kovalevych and Anton Protsenko 8-4. Clark and Michael Moore won 8-5 over Artemiy Nikitin and David Grund.
“If we could’ve won the doubles then we could’ve had it,” Happy said.
In the singles matches, Happy won over Meana 6-4, 7-5. Clark was defeated by Kovalevych 6-7, 6-2, 6-3. Wamokowa was defeated by Vinogradous 6-3, 6-1. Gabriel was defeated by Protsenko 6-2, 7-6.Moore was defeated by Nikitin 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. Asafu-Adjaye won over Grund 6-3, 6-1.
The team’s hopes of victory in the match crumbled on a comeback effort that fell short.
Playing without Clark, one of the team’s top players on Saturday, created a domino effect during the matches. Although one doubles match did not determine the outcome of the event, Clark’s absence from the match disrupted the on-court chemistry of the team’s doubles play.
The team will play Bethune-Cookman (Saturday), Fort Valley State (April 8) and Lamar University (April 9) before the MEAC Championship. The Rattlers are in good shape and will begin prepare for their next match this week.
“Hopefully we will regroup and be ready, right for the next match,” said assistant coach, Simbarashe Happy.