COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – A thrilling finish to doubles play served as a springboard for the Ursinus College men's tennis team to roll to an 8-1 Centennial Conference victory over visiting Muhlenberg on Wednesday.
Senior Chanton Phan and junior Peter Shields staked the Bears to a 1-0 lead with a convincing 8-2 rout of Steven Shoemaker and Jon Yandle at number two doubles, only for Muhlenberg's Mickey Schindler and David Woods to return the favor with an 8-1 result at first doubles, evening the spread.
Doubles came down to a nail-biter at number three, where Burke and DeFaber-Schumacher let leads of 7-4 and 8-7 slip away, forcing a winner-take-all tiebreaker with the Mules' Alex Dagilis and Andrew Natko. Knotted at 1, the Bears' pairing saved their best for when it mattered most, reeling off six straight points that culminated in a forceful overhead winner by Burke and a critical 9-8 (1) final as the home side took a hard-earned lead into singles competition.
Burke's slam punctuated a milestone, as he became just the sixth player in program history to capture 30 career doubles wins.
The Bears had little trouble in singles play. Phan picked up his 20th career singles victory with a 6-1, 6-2 defeat of Woods at number two, and Burke took down Nicholas Oliveti by a 6-4, 6-2 margin.
Vecchio, playing in the top spot for the first time in his career, clinched the result with a 7-5, 6-2 defeat of Schindler.
A victory already ensured, Ursinus finished the match in style. Senior Jordan Hodess cruised past Shoemaker 6-0, 6-1 at number five, and freshman Devin Paulison handled Evan Johannet 6-2, 6-3 on the sixth court. Shields polished off the night by rallying for a 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory opposite Dagilis at number four.
The men's tennis team continues CC play at Dickinson on Saturday, April 8.