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Kenyon Owls Men’s Tennis come back to top No. 11 Tigers

MALIBU, Calif. — The Kenyon College men’s tennis team, ranked No. 31 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s (ITA) rankings, secured a significant victory to close their spring break slate. The Owls took down the No. 11-ranked Sewanee Tigers in a hard-fought dual, winning 5-4 in the neutral site matchup.

The winning margin marked the difference between the records of the two ranked teams, who both entered with a 4-4 mark. Kenyon boosted its record to 5-4 this season with a second straight win. On the other side, Sewanee dropped to 4-5 with a second straight loss.

The Tigers started the dual with an 8-1 win over Rishil Kondapaneni and Eric Zhang in the top doubles spot, but the Owls opened up a 2-1 lead after a couple of crucial doubles decisions. Kenyon’s pairing of Eliezer Gonzalez and Alejandro Gonzalez knotted the dual with an 8-4 victory in the No. 3 bout before Paulo Pocasangre Kreling and Gianluca Bocanegra put the Owls on top with an 8-6 win at No. 2.

Doubles results proved to be the difference in the dual as the teams split over six singles matches. Despite the final result, Sewanee took a commanding lead at the start of singles play. The Tigers toppled the Owls in straight sets in the Nos. 4, 2, and 1 matches to pull within one point of clinching a victory.

Kenyon buckled down, however, and the Owls churned out three terrific three-set singles wins to stave off Sewanee. Rakkan Audeh started the streak in the No. 6 match, winning 6-2, 1-6, 6-4. Alejandro Gonzalez had similar scores in the No. 3 contest, coming out on top 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 to tie the team score at 4-4. The pressure was on for Eliezer Gonzalez in the fifth and final singles match, and the sophomore faced an early deficit after falling 6-4 in set one. However, Gonzalez flipped the script, winning 6-4 in each of the following two sets to clinch the No. 5 match and the dual for Kenyon.

With their spring break slate in the books, the Owls fly back to Gambier to rest up for an extended period before two more tough tests. Kenyon hosts Otterbein University in a scrimmage on March 24, but the team’s next two duals are against top-ranked teams. Kenyon takes on No. 8-ranked University of Chicago in Indianapolis, Indiana, on March 31 before competing in Cleveland, Ohio, against No. 4 Case Western Reserve University on April 5.

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