The No. 17 University of Redlands men's tennis team kicked off the 2013 season with a pair of tough defeats to visiting NAIA opponents on Saturday. The Bulldogs fell to the No. 6 Vanguard University Lions, 2-7, before coming up short in heartbreaking fashion to the 12th-ranked Eagles of Concordia University – Irvine, 4-5.
Against Vanguard, the Maroon and Gray had its hands full from the get-go but battled at every doubles position. After falling at No. 1 and 2 in tight decisions, the No. 3 duo of seniors John Brewer (Portland, OR) and Anish Nanda (Cerritos, CA) pulled out an exciting 9-8(3) victory.
Trailing by a score of 1-2, the Bulldogs needed to prevail at four of the six singles matches. Unfortunately, the Lions had other plans, striking first at Nos. 1, 4, and 5 for the overall win.
Redlands gained its only singles victory at the No. 3 spot, where sophomore Nick Cummins (Rancho Mirage, CA) nabbed a 2-6, 6-4, 10-8 win.
Shortly after the Vanguard match, the Bulldogs retook the courts for another challenging showdown. They put together a solid effort in doubles, winning two of three matches against Concordia. Senior Connor Hyde (Peterborough, NH) and Cummins teamed up at the top spot for an impressive 8-1 victory, before Nanda and Brewer recorded an 8-5 performance at No. 3.
In singles, Redlands gained an early point at No. 3 when Cummins' opponent retired at 6-1.
However, Concordia answered with a two-set performance at No. 2, 6-4, 6-0, but Nanda equalized this loss for the Maroon and Gray with a 6-1, 6-0 thrashing of his No. 5 opponent.
Up 4-2, the Bulldogs needed just one more match to seal the deal on the team triumph.
But the Eagles showed great resolve by capturing a straight-set victory at No. 4, before rallying for a pair of three-setters at the top and bottom of the lineup.
Redlands (0-2) continues its tough slate of NAIA opponents with a match against Point Loma Nazarene University on Sat., Feb. 16. The action takes place on Verdieck Courts, beginning at 10 a.m.