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Falcons Soar Past Alvernia And Into C'Wealth Tourney
Posted: 4/25/2011
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Reading, PA — With a potential storm pushing Monday’s match indoors, Messiah fought its way to a 7-2 win over Alvernia University to clinch a spot as the fourth seed in the upcoming Commonwealth Conference tournament.

The Falcons closed out their spring season in grand fashion. With a spot in the tournament still up for grabs, Messiah (5-10, 3-3) came away with the much needed points, taking two of the doubles and five of the singles slots for the all-important team win.

The match was played at Hillcrest Racquet Club in Reading, Pa. The men’s match made use of four hard-tru courts (a type of clay). Doubles play began quickly, with wins coming from second and third doubles.

Third doubles duo of sophomores Freddie Behnke and Derrek Hoffer rolled to a 8-0 victory.

Second doubles freshman Dave Wichert and freshman Chris Brittingham played strong in the critical moments, pulling out a 8-5 win.

At first doubles, sophomore Justin Meckley and junior Andrew Wismer could not get anything going in their direction. Arriving too late for a pre-match warm-up, and adjusting to the temperature of the heated bubble courts, Alvernia’s pair of Nathan Bauer and William Gerber took the set 8-3.

“It was more than a little frustrating,” Wismer said. “Luckily, we had the support of two strong pairs of doubles team on our side, and we could look ahead to improving in our singles matches.”

Being up 2-1 after doubles allowed a determined Falcon team to take charge of the singles matches; winning five of the six matchups.

Behnke once again make quick work at the sixth flight, defeating Ryan Ludwig 6-1, 6-0. Following him, Wichert came away with a strong 6-2, 6-1 win at the third flight against Will Gerber.

At the first flight, Wismer played Jed Spangler in his final collegiate tennis match. In a battle of long rallies, Wismer won the first set 6-4. As Wismer pulled to a 4-1 lead in the second, Spangler strategically battled his way back into the set, leveling it at 4-4. Unfortunately for him, Wismer dug deep and found one more break and held to win the second set and match, 6-4.

At the fifth flight, junior Luke Sisson continued to play well, taking the first set 6-2 against Kevin Brandt. In a much closer second set, he was able to hold on to his lead and win 7-5.

With the match already clinched, Brittingham played an eight game pro set at the fourth flight. By controlling the rallies and hitting crisp passing shots, he fought his way to an 8-5 win over Zach Marsar, giving Messiah its seventh point of the day.

The Crusaders’ lone singles point came at the second flight, in the matchup between Meckley and Alvernia’s Nate Bauer. The fate of the first set rested in a tie-breaker, which Bauer came away with. Continuing to give it his all, Meckley unfortunately could not stage the comeback and lost the second set 6-3.

“Despite just getting back from Easter break, we came to play,” assistant coach Jon Arosell said. “The guys fought hard and really began to show what they are capable of.”

This 7-2 win makes Messiah College the number four seed in the Commonwealth Conference tournament.  The Falcons are set to face the first seeded Bluejays of Elizabethtown College, Tuesday at 3:30 pm. The match will be held at Elizabethtown College.