KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The Ursinus College men's tennis team wasted little time notching a signature victory on its spring trip to Florida, knocking off Oglethorpe 6-3 in a clash of regionally ranked squads for the first triumph over a top-10 Atlantic South opponent in school history.
The Bears, who upended a ranked foe for the second time in program history, clinched the historic decision on the racket of an unexpected source. Senior Jordan Hodess, who came in with nine career singles wins, recorded the biggest of his career on Tuesday, sealing Ursinus' fate with a 7-5, 6-3 defeat of Michael Allen at sixth singles.
Oglethorpe, slotted 10th in the Atlantic South, fell to 3-5 on the season.
Ursinus (2-0) took two of the three doubles courts to gain an early upper hand. Senior Henry Burke and freshman Connor DeFaber-Schumacher were dominant at third doubles, rolling to an 8-2 final opposite Dustin Bowie and Jacob Bertram. Junior Max Oberholtzer and sophomore Paul Vecchio doubled the advantage with an 8-5 victory against Richard Johnson and Michael Allen at number one before the Stormy Petrels got on the board with a win at second doubles.
Oberholtzer's 6-3, 6-0 rout of Johnson at number one singles extended the Bears' lead to 3-1, but Oglethorpe prevailed at number two and number five behind Bowie and Matthew Magee, respectively, to level the spread at 3-apiece. But that was as good as it got it for the Stormy Petrels.
Burke brought Ursinus to the brink of history with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Michael Santaloci at fourth singles and Hodess took the Bears home. Senior Chanton Phan was awarded a victory at number three singles when Zoe Raymond was forced to retire despite claiming the first set, 7-6 (4), and leading 2-0 in the second.
Tuesday's decision joins last season's 5-4 victory over Washington College as the men's tennis program's only wins against regionally ranked opponents.
The men's tennis plays two matches in Orlando on Wednesday, first against King's (Pa.) at 8 a.m. and again at 7 p.m. versus Clark.
"That match was truly a joy to watch," head coach Pete Smith said. "The guys knew exactly what was at stake today and they came out fired up and played with passion throughout the whole match. Our doubles continue to be a strong point, and winning four of six singles matches against the 10th-ranked team in the region is outstanding. Jordan Hodess turned in a truly sublime performance at sixth singles. Jordan is a senior who has been working so hard this year, and for me to drop him in the line-up today and get that kind of performance out of him, it leaves me speechless. Just awesome. We are showing our depth and the team has proven that they can win at any spot in the line-up. This is arguably the biggest win in school history. We'll enjoy this today, then get back at it tomorrow vs King's. I really like the trajectory of this group right now."