Three-Set Wins by Adair, Blackman Set Rally in Motion
TOWSON, Md. — Thomas Adair (Dunkirk, Md./Northern) kept Goucher's flickering hopes alive, Brett Blackman (Philadelphia, Pa./J.R. Masterman) led the Gophers to the doorstep of an improbable triumph and Seth Manfield (Bethesda, Md./Emerson Prep) sealed the deal.
With Goucher trailing Stevenson, 4-2, this afternoon, all three of those players pulled out three-set wins in singles matches that allowed the Gophers to overtake the Mustangs and secure a 5-4 victory.
Adair and Manfield may have actually saved the day for the Gophers (2-15) with an 8-6 win over Matt Hartley and Matthew Eyler at No. 3 doubles. The Mustangs (4-7) had already assumed a 2-0 advantage with convincing victories in the other two doubles matches.
The first singles match to conclude was No. 2, which matched Stevenson's James Bishoff against freshman Nick Pelensky (Billings, Mont./Billings). Bishoff prevailed 6-2, 6-0.
The Gophers closed to within 3-2 when freshman Pat Murnin (Salt Lake City, Utah/East) defeated Eric Belton 6-1, 6-2 at No. 4, but the Mustangs got that point right back when Ted Cooke completed his 6-1, 6-2 win over David Spivey (Cockeysville, Md./The Park School) at No. 1.
Adair prevented Stevenson from obtaining the match-clinching fifth point when he rallied from being a set down to knock off Eyler 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 at No. 6.
The pressure then shifted to Blackman, who responded with a strategic 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 victory over Anthony Carle at No. 5.
With the two teams now locked in a 4-4 tie, the outcome came down to the No. 3 singles match pitting Manfield against Hartley. Hartley took the opening set, but Manfield, who has played higher than No. 4 in the singles lineup only one other time in 29 career matches, battled back to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
The last time the Gophers overcame a deficit heading into singles play to win a match was when they collected five wins during the singles competition to pull out a 6-3 victory over the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy on April 3, 2011.