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Saints Struggle On Opening Day at Nationals

KSCB News - May 12, 2015 1:34 pm

May 12, 2015

It was not the opening day that the Seward County Saints Men’s Tennis team had dreamed about all year long Monday in Plano, Texas at the 2015 NJCAA National Tournament. On day one of the week long tournament the Saints managed just four points, seeing their top three players all eliminated from the championship bracket, as they sat in 17th place at days end.

The biggest shock of the day for Saints fans came in Seward’s first match of the tournament as 6th seeded Ronzai Saurombe took on unseeded Zach Dye of Spartanburg Methodist in the #1 singles draw. The heavily favored Saurombe struggled to ever get going in the early morning matchup, falling 6-3 in the opening set and was stunned with another 6-3 loss in the second to go down in straight sets. The loss eliminates Saurombe from championship competition and he will now have to try to make the best of his week in the consolation bracket where he will be the odds on favorite being the only seeded player in the draw.

Things looked like they were getting better for the Saints at #2 singles as Vitor Galvao was all over Abraham Baldwin’s Deepak Vishavkarma in the first set, blanking him 6-0. But the tides changed in the second as Vishavkarma responded with a 6-1 win and in the deciding third set, Galvao was unable to get his momentum back, falling 6-2 to be eliminated from title contention. Galvao’s tournament will now continue in the consolation bracket.

It was another shocker at #3 singles for the Saints as Alvaro Rengifo took on Josh McKinney of Collin County. During their regular season matchup one month ago, it was all Rengifo in the dual as he was able to down McKinney in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in Oklahoma City. It was a different case on Monday as McKinney tuned the tables on Rengifo, winning the first 6-2, before finishing him off 7-5 in the second to end his tournament run almost before it got started. Rengifo will try to collect points for Seward now in the backdraw which he will continue play in on Wednesday morning.

In the other three singles brackets, Seward will see seeded players in Felipe Casares, Tare Mariga, and Paul Arslanian take the court, the trio all received first round bye’s with their top six seeds.

After both suffering surprising defeats in singles play, Saurombe and Galvao teamed up at #1 doubles to take some frustration out. Unfortunately for Jones County’s Graham Lightsey and Josiah Lim, they were standing in the way. Seventh seeded Saurombe and Galvao dominated the match, winning the first 6-2 before taking care of business 6-1 in the second to take the match in straight sets. The Saints top pair will now take on Harford in the second round on Tuesday afternoon.

In #2 doubles it was Casares and Rengifo taking their crack at the field. The pair struggled in the first set against Kevin McMahon and Nicholas Silvestri of Mesa, dropping the opener 6-3. On the ropes in the second, Casares and Rengifo kept battling, coming back to win it 7-5 and they outlasted the T-Birds duo 6-4 in the third for a come from behind win to stay alive. They will face a tough second round matchup on Tuesday when they face Ibbott/Riess of Collin County who beat them 8-0 during the regular season.

The Saints #3 doubles team of Mariga and Arslanian picked up the #4 seed for the tournament and received a first round bye to Tuesday.

The 6th ranked Saints will need to regroup and in a hurry at the tournament as they end day one in 17th place with just four points. New Mexico Military leads the way with 14 points while Region VI rival Cowley is tied for 2nd with 12 points. Powerhouses ASA and Tyler were both idle on Monday and will be expected to jump to the top of the charts after they get underway on Tuesday.

For tournament updates throughout the week, check out the official tournament homepage by CLICKING HERE<>.

Roy Allen


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