The Rattlers tennis team kept things close on Saturday but was unable to pull through as it fell short 4-3 to Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference-leader South Carolina State (13-2, 3-1 MEAC) at the Florida A&M Tennis Complex.
Both teams entered the match undefeated in conference play. With the win, the Bulldogs clinched the No.1 seed in the southern division.
Assistant coach Michael Moore said a victory at home would have been important.
“I felt like we should have took this game at home,” Moore said. “Everybody played their best although there were some loose ends here and there. The games were so close in doubles. We often thought we would pull through in singles because most of our players have outstanding singles records this year, but we came up short.”
In doubles play, FAMU won one of the three matches. Levan Clark and Salif Kante were defeated 8-6, while Chidi Gabriel and Takura Happy lost 9-8. Fabrice Myrtil and Temura Asafu-Adjaye earned an 8-6 victory against SCSU’s Tomas Bizon and Young Lee.
Singles play proved to be a challenge for the Rattlers when Happy was sidelined with an injury. Clark lost 6-3, 6-3 to Bizon. Kante won 6-1, 6-3. Gabriel won 3-6, 6-3, 7-6. Adjaye stumbled 0-6, 6-2, 6-1; and Myrtil lost 6-3.
“As a whole, I think the match wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t 100 percent good either,” Gabriel said. “In doubles, we had a lot of chances to pull through here and there. Stuff just didn’t go our way.”
Gabriel added: “Doubles were really close. Fabrice pulled through and Salif lost a tight one. In singles, we felt as if we had a shot to pull through the match. Unfortunately, Takura couldn’t play because of injury and we were down two matches. Even with him not playing, no pressure got to us. We started to play better and three players pulled through in singles.”
With the loss the Rattlers move to 12-8 overall and 3-1 in conference play.
“The game was not a bad game, there were just areas we could have won the match with,” Asafu-Adjaye said. “We played with a man down, but SCSU knows that we are a force to be reckoned with come conference time. Conference time, they are going to have to do a lot to beat us even though we came up short this game.”
The Rattlers will return to action Saturday, April 7, against archrival Bethune-Cookman University at the FAMU Tennis Complex.