CANTON -- Reinhardt's second-ranked men's tennis team remained undefeated Tuesday with a comfortable 8-1 win over Tennessee Wesleyan at BridgeMill Athletic Club.
The win moved the Eagles to 12-0 on the season and 5-0 in Appalachian Athletic Conference play, while also knocking the Bulldogs (10-3, 5-1) from the ranks of the undefeated in the conference.
“There’s always a rivalry between us and Tennessee Wesleyan,” Reinhardt coach Jennifer Pourchier said. “For the last four years, it’s been us and them battling for a championship. Everyone is more on edge in a match like this. We’re expecting the same again this season, so it was big to come out and play like we did.”
The biggest difference for Reinhardt came in singles play, where it swept all six points to put a close doubles session behind them.
Martin Mendoza set the tone with his 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 1. Myrohn Miranda came back to win a close 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 match at No. 2, while Sam Alexander recovered to win 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 at No. 3.
The Eagles’ depth was overwhelming, though, as Mario Belloni Tomas, Jordi Puig and Pau Pujadas won in straight sets at Nos. 4, 5 and 6, respectively.
“It’s pretty crazy the depth we have,” Pourchier said. “We have freshmen playing at 5 and 6. They’ve just stepped up and proved themselves all season. They’re excellent players. They’re super-competitive and they do whatever our team needs from them to win.”
Though doubles play ultimately proved inconsequential, Pourchier was not impressed with her team’s start.
The Eagles dropped an 8-6 match at No. 1 doubles. Bruno Juarez and Miranda cruised to an 8-2 win at No. 2, while Belloni Tomas and Puig pulled off a 9-8 win at No. 3 to propel Reinhardt into singles play.
“I thought we came out very flat,” Pourchier said. “I wasn't happy with the way we started doubles. Myrohn and Bruno came out well, but we expect that out of our seniors. They know we need them to step up. Doubles could have gone either way, though. Tennessee Wesleyan played well, but we got it together just in time to get where we wanted to be.”
The win was a promising sign for Reinhardt’s chances at another AAC title, but there is still plenty of work to be done before the end of the regular season.
The Eagles will travel to face fellow AAC contender Point next Tuesday before closing out the season April 23 at No. 1 Georgia Gwinnett.
“We’re definitely feeling good,” Pourchier said. “Everything has been going our way this season, but we have a lot of work still to do. We have to get ready to go to Point. That’s going to be tough, and we all know about Georgia Gwinnett. Hopefully, we can finish strong and earn some respect before we get to tournament time.”