HICKORY, N.C. --- Lenoir-Rhyne University withstood a rally from Tusculum University as the 37th-ranked Bears held on for a 4-3 victory over the Pioneers in South Atlantic Conference men's tennis action Friday afternoon.
All six singles matches went to three sets and six tiebreakers were played between the Bears (13-3, 4-2 SAC) and the Pioneers (9-4, 4-2 SAC), with Lenoir-Rhyne taking a 3-0 lead before Tusculum rallied with a pair of singles wins. However, the Bears were able to win the next-to-last singles match to clinch the match, which lasted nearly six hours.
Lenoir-Rhyne won the doubles point by taking all three matches from Tusculum, and went up 2-0 at flight one as Tales Miranda rallied to beat 36th-ranked David Akinpetide 0-6, 6-4, 6-1. The Bears went up 3-0 at flight three where Josh Lazenby defeated 73rd-ranked Yago Fernandez 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2.
Tusculum fought back as Vadzim Raitsou won in a tiebreaker in the final set for a 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) win at flight five against Lewis Scott. Manuel Guedes de Almeida then brought the Pioneers within 3-2 as he beat Shane O'Dea 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 at flight four. At flight two, Tomas Guedes de Almeida survived four match points in the second set to force a third set, but ultimately fell to Rhodi Atkinson 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (5-7), 6-3 as the Bears clinched the victory.
Gabriel Yaguar closed out the match for the Pioneers by beating Paul Lenz in a 10-7 tiebreaker at flight six after splitting the first two sets 6-7 (6-8) and 6-4.
The Pioneers will return home to face their third straight ranked opponent as 34th-ranked Bluefield State visits Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Nichols Tennis Complex.