ORLANDO, Fla. – The Ursinus College men's tennis team treated spectators at the USTA National Campus to an epic showdown with Piedmont on Thursday morning, taking the Lions to the final point in a roller-coaster 5-4 non-conference defeat.
Mason Groff rallied from mini-break deficits on several occasions in a wild third-set super tiebreaker at No. 1 singles with the match hanging in the balance, but Piedmont's top player managed to eke out a 10-8 thriller.
Groff and Matt Fontanese continued their dominance at No. 1 doubles, rolling to an 8-3 victory to get Ursinus (5-2) started on the right foot. After the Lions grabbed the third court, Connor DeFaber-Schumacher and Simbarashe Kanjanda stormed back from a 6-3 deficit to rattle off five straight games and steal an 8-6 victory at No. 2.
Piedmont (6-7) picked up a pair of quick wins at No. 4 and No. 6 singles, but Kanjanda's clean performance at No. 5 resulted in a straight-set victory by a 6-2, 7-5 line to knot the match at three courts apiece.
Fontanese, fittingly, won by the same score at No. 2 singles to match Kanjanda with an undefeated spring trip and put the Bears on the brink of victory.
DeFaber-Schumacher came close to taking his No. 3 singles match to a third set before dropping a 6-3, 7-6 (3) contest, leaving it all to the top singles court.
Groff and Chris Bale tangled in an epic tussle, with Ursinus' junior star overcoming a first-set loss to claim the second in a tiebreaker. Down 6-3 in the third-set super breaker, Groff came back to tie it at 6 points all. He trailed 8-6 before getting back to within 9-8, but Bale managed to pull it out.
The Bears finished their spring trip with a mark of 3-1.