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Tennis Drops Heartbreaker In Semifinals

(Posted April 21, 2007)

Aaron Rhodes earned wins in singles and doubles play in the Commonwealth semifinal match against Elizabethtown.

GRANTHAM, Pa. - History repeated itself in unkind fashion for the Juniata College men\'s tennis team Saturday afternoon as the Eagles suffered a 5-4 defeat at the hands of Elizabethtown College in the Commonwealth Conference Semifinals held at Messiah College. It marked the second-consecutive season in which Juniata has lost by a single match in the semifinals of the conference postseason after the team fell by a 4-3 score to Albright last year. The match was extremely competitive throughout the day as three of the six singles matches were decided in three sets. Juniata won two of the three-set matches, but were unable to come away with the overall win. Juniata is now 5-4 on the year following the loss. Elizabethtown is now 9-9 and moves on to face top seed Messiah in Sunday\'s Championship. The second-seed Blue Jays got off to the better start as Juniata was able to come away with just one victory in doubles action. Aaron Rhodes (Huntingdon/Huntingdon) and Casey Chew (Phoenixville/Phoenixville) were 8-5 winners at second doubles. A tight third doubles match went Elizabethtown\'s way as Jau Feixas (University of Barcelona/Barcelona, Spain) and Jonathan Skoner (Central Catholic/Pittsburgh) dropped a tough 8-6 decision. Brandon Long (Lebanon/Lebanon) and Jarrad Silver (Walt Whitman/Bethesda, Md.) fell by an 8-4 score at first doubles. The Eagles then surged back into the match by controlling play at the bottom part of the singles ladder. Long overcame a slow start against Andrew Voshell to capture a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 win at fourth singles for Juniata. Chew also bounced back after falling in the first set to pick up a 1-6, 6-0, 6-3 victory at sixth singles over James Dombach. Rhodes matched his doubles partner by earning a 6-4, 6-4 win at fifth singles over Zach Atkinson. But Juniata could not battle its way to any singles wins in any of the top three spots. Silver put together one of his best matches of the season, pushing Elizabethtown\'s Ryan Knarr to a third set before falling 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 at second singles. Skoner fell by a 6-4, 6-3 score at first singles to Maarten Albers and Ryan Navarro (Bishop Guilfoyle/Altoona) was stopped 6-2, 6-1 at third singles by Brok Walker. The match was competitive the entire day as four of the six singles contests were decided in three sets. After Albright claimed two of the three doubles matches to claim an early 1-0 lead, Juniata needed to win four of the six singles contests to secure the win. Juniata will be back in action on Tuesday when the Eagles travel to play Goucher College in a non-conference match. ###

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.