By Paul Hines
MT. VERNON —
The Rams tennis matchup against Flora on Thursday came down to the final match.
With the score tied at four, the Mt. Vernon doubles duo of Dalton McGowen and Austin Martin dug out a 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 victory to seal the team victory. The two won the tiebreaker in the opening set before building a 4-0 edge to start the second set.
“They played a real solid match, and the key was in the first set in the tiebreaker, and they were able to pull that out,” Mt. Vernon coach Randy Knox said. “I think it gave them some confidence going into the second set. Austin played well at the net, and I thought Dalton played well at the baseline and placed the ball real well.”
Flora played the match shorthanded and forfeited the No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles spots. Madison Wellmaker earned an automatic win for the Rams on the singles side while the team of Wellmaker and Aiden Ezell earned an automatic doubles win due to the open slots.
“(Flora) had their strongest players here so I don't think that was much of a factor,” Knox said. “Because I felt like we could have won at those positions anyway. It really came down to that No. 2 doubles match.”
Dalton McGowen and Dalton Barnes both claimed singles wins for the Rams. McGowen won his No. 3 singles match 6-3, and Barnes was victorious at No. 5 singles 6-1, 6-2.
Mt. Vernon's No. 1 singles player Nathan Arnold lost his match in straight sets. Jared Hatton also lost in straight sets at No. 2. The two teamed together in doubles and were defeated by Flora 6-3, 6-2.
“(Flora's) No. 1 and 2 players were so strong,” Knox said. “I thought Nathan and Jared played pretty well, but they're just an excellent team.”
Mt. Vernon is 2-0 this season and remains at home for a matchup with Greenville on Monday.