Men's tennis wins on Senior Day

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- It was senior day for the Alabama men's tennis team Sunday, but a trio of juniors answered the call to carry the No. 16 Crimson Tide to a 4-3 victory over No. 18 South Carolina (13-4, 3-4 SEC) on a cool and windy day at Varsity Courts.

The Crimson Tide saw its 3-0 lead trimmed to 3-2 as South Carolina scored wins at No. 1 and No. 4 singles, leaving Bama needing one of the two remaining matches to win. As both matches went to a third set, Tide junior Stephen Mitchell raised his level of play, painting the lines with forehand winners and overwhelming South Carolina's Marcus Westman, 6-1 in the third.

"It was hard to adapt to the weather at the beginning of the match," Mitchell said. "I was more focused on that than on the match. Then I just began to try and hit every ball in the court and focus in on my game.

"(Westman) was a grinder, and a very good player who makes a lot of good shots. I have to be more patient and wait for my shots when I play a guy like that."

Alabama (14-6, 3-5 SEC) jumped out to a 3-0 lead behind quick doubles wins at No.1 and No.3 to take that point, and straight-set singles victories by juniors Christian Brodersen and Chris Gostek. Gostek is the team leader in combined singles and doubles wins with 26 while Brodersen has notched a team high 16 singles wins.

"We've lost some matches lately because we weren't able to get off to a good start," Gostek said. "Today we started off well and after I saw Brody win his match I wanted to get my match over as soon as possible to make the other guys on the court more comfortable."

For seven Tide players, it was the final home match of their career on their home courts. The seniors were recognized for their accomplishments between doubles and singles play. There is a possibility, however, that Alabama could host an NCAA regional round at the courts.

Alabama goes on the road for two more weekends of regular season Southeastern Conference play before the SEC tournament in Oxford, Miss. The Tide will face Kentucky and Vanderbilt next weekend and wrap up the season at Auburn in two weekends.

Alabama 4, South Carolina 3

Doubles

1. Belski/Hiscox (UA) d. Westman/Ekland (SC) 8-3
2. Mitchell/ Bradley Friedman (UA) vs. Rose/Wermee (SC) 6-5 susp.
3. William Boyles/Gostek (UA) d. Knorr/Atkinson (SC) 8-2

Singles

1. Seth Rose (SC) d. Maxim Belski (UA, #75) 6-4, 6-4
2. *Stephen Mitchell (UA) d. Marcus Westman (SC) 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
3. Chris Gostek (UA,#91) d. Tom Ekland (SC) 6-0, 7-5
4. Carl Wermee (SC) d. Geoff Hiscox (UA) 7-5, 6-1
5. Christian Brodersen (UA) d. Geraldo Knorr (SC) 6-1,6-1
6. Ben Atkinson (SC) d. Michael Ray Pallares (UA) 6-4, 2-6, 7-5

*clinched match

order of finish: 5-3-4-1-2-6


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