CARLISLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College men's tennis team twice rallied from two matches down at Dickinson on Saturday, storming back to snag their third consecutive Centennial Conference victory, 5-4, in thrilling fashion.
Typifying a resilient afternoon, senior Jordan Hodess and junior Peter Shields battled back from significant first-set deficits in their singles matches, ultimately coming from behind to secure nearly simultaneous victories that clinched only the second win over Dickinson in school history.
The result ensured a seventh consecutive winning season for Ursinus (10-3, 3-2), which has its sights set higher after claiming sole possession of fifth place in the CC standings,
Dickinson (1-8, 0-4) – which beat the Bears 6-3 in Collegeville a year ago – put the visitors in a 2-0 hole with a pair of quick doubles decisions, but Shields and senior Chanton Phan kept Ursinus' hopes alive with an 8-1 rout of Qi Hua and James Demakos at number two.
A victory by Jackson Claudio at number two singles made it 3-1 in favor Dickinson before junior Max Oberholtz (7-5, 6-1 over Shawn Diniz) and senior Henry Burke (6-3, 6-2 against Nicholas Reese) leveled the match at 3-apiece with wins at first and fourth singles, respectively.
Samuel Loring put the Red Devils on the brink of victory with a triumph at third singles, and the outlook was plenty bleak for the Bears with Hodess trailing 3-0 at number six and Shields in a 5-1 hole at number five.
Suddenly, the veteran pair roared back in tandem. Hodess ran off six straight games to take the first set 6-3, and Shields rattled off five of the next six games to force a first-set tiebreaker, where he eked out a 7-5 win opposite Demakos. Hodess posted a 6-3 win in his second set against Hua to even the match at 4-all, and Shields made it official hardly 30 seconds later with a 6-1 victory in his second set.
The only double winner for the Bears, Shields upped his career win total to 50; he is the 12th player in program history to reach that milestone, with Burke one away from joining him.
The singles victory for Oberholtzer gave him an even 30 for his career, making him only the seventh Bear to reach that mark.
The Bears look to continue their hot streak at Haverford on Tuesday, April 11.