Blue and Gold Spring | Summer 2021 Volume 2 • Issue 1 - Page 56

Thrilla On The Kanawha .
The Saturday win set up a Sunday rematch with the University of Charleston . The Big Blue lost a close match , 4-3 , at home earlier in the season .
The top-seeded Golden Eagles came in with an impressive 14-3 record , good enough for a 36 ranking nationally .
The match started with Charleston avenging a doubles defeat in Bluefield . The Golden Eagles beat the Big Blue two matches out of three , giving them a team lead of 1-0 .
“ Every one of those last four singles matches , those guys had to gut it out and make big play after big play .”
- Derrick Price , Athletics Director
Charleston expanded their lead to 3-0 , winning first and fifth singles defeating Bau-Madsen and Busse . With just one more win they ’ d join seven other regional winners for a shot at a national championship .
Then the Big Blue started their comeback . First , Tom Schmieta , a 2020 All-American , won a tight match at number three singles , 7-6 ( 7-5 ), 6-4 .
Teddy Razafindratsima did the same at number four singles , 7-5 , 7-5 .
Avail-Torres then dispatched his opponent easily at number six singles , 6-2 , 6-0 .
In Charleston , the Big Blue punched their ticket to Arizona , going where no other Bluefield State tennis team has gone . and on the cusp of victory . However , Khalil rallied with strong play in the third set and won , 6-3 .
At 4-3 , this come-from-way-behind win was an incredible rebound for the Big Blue against a tough team on their courts .
“ Tennis is as much a mental game as a physical one . At the end , our guys showed they had the eye of the tiger . They earned the right to be our first ambassadors to the NCAA Tennis Finals !”
- Derrick Price , Athletics Director
Perhaps even more remarkable , they did it without their normal coach . Associate Athletics Director Ryan Bailey and Jim Macomber accompanied the team to Charleston with Bailey deciding the line-ups .
In Charleston , the Big Blue punched their ticket to Arizona , going where no other Bluefield State tennis team has gone .
Athletics Director Derrick Price said , “ What they did was just unbelievable ! The team kind of sailed through Saturday . Then they got into a deep hole Sunday against a Charleston team that beat them in a close one on our courts .
“ Every one of those last four singles matches , those guys had to gut it out and make big play after big play .
“ Tennis is as much a mental game as a physical one . At the end , our guys showed they had the eye of the tiger . They earned the right to be our first ambassadors to the NCAA Tennis Finals !”
That left it all to Mohamed Khalil at number two singles . He took a close first set at 7-5 . Then lost the second , 5-7 , after being up 5-2
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