Slow Start Plagues Falcons Once Again, Drop 7-2 Decision
Grantham, PA — Hoping for a third Commonwealth Conference victory, Messiah College fell short at home against Lycoming College Thursday, dropping a 2-7 decision. Despite the cooperating weather, Messiah (4-10, 2-3) struggled to hold their own, succumbing to the team’s third 2-7 decision of the year.
Once again, the Falcons found themselves behind 0-3 after the round of doubles matches. As has been the case for the past several matches, junior Andrew Wismer and sophomore Justin Meckley dropped another tight match, 8-6. At second doubles, freshmen Dave Wichert and Chris Brittingham fell 8-0 to a tough Lyco duo. At third doubles, junior Luke Sisson and sophomore Nathan Shertzer fell short 8-3.
“Doubles has become a constant struggle for us,” Messiah head coach, Sheila Bush said, following doubles action. “Losing three doubles matches puts enormous pressure on the singles, which can be tough to take at least five of the six matchups.”
Unfortunately, this turned out to be all-too true, as the Falcons dropped four of the six singles matches.
Wismer could not find the top of his game as he found himself down early breaks without ever quite recovering. He fell to Jason Mifsud 6-2, 6-4. Meckley put up a strong showing at second singles, despite losing 6-4, 7-5 to Lycoming’s Robert Brown.
At third singles, Wichert dropped the first set 6-1 to David Brown before staging a much stronger second set.
Unfortunately, he went on to lose the second set 6-4. At fifth singles, Sisson was defeated by Cody Heffner 6-0, 6-3.
“I wanted this win today badly. At least to comeback to a third set,” Wichert said. “I have a few things I need to work on for next time.”
This left Behnke and Brittingham to take home the two lone points for Messiah.
At sixth singles, Behnke made quick work of Devin Rachael, winning 6-2, 6-1.
At fourth singles, Brittingham played the match of his short college career. After losing the first set 4-6, he battled back with skillful angles and consistent strokes to take the second set 6-3. Fueled by his desire to win and the support of his entire team, Brittingham made his way to a 10-7 win in the third set super-tiebreaker.
“Chris had a breakout performance today,” Assistant coach Jon Arosell said. “This was by far the best we have seen him play. He really played like he wanted to win. Chris showed our team how we need everyone to play, every time they step out on the court.”
Messiah will look to rebound Monday and wrap-up their regular season play against Alvernia University. With a win, the Falcons will clinch the fourth seed in the upcoming Commonwealth Conference tournament. The Alvernia match will take place at 3 p.m. at Hampden Park.