By (Michael Schwartz)

While the weather on this day was inconsistent, the one constant was the grit of the Alabama men’s tennis team in its 5-2 victory over its conference rival, the Tennessee Volunteers.

The rain could not prevent the Crimson Tide from earning its first win against the Volunteers in nearly four years. Alabama didn’t coast to victory, however, as Tennessee claimed the first two doubles matches for the first point on the board, but Alabama regrouped in the singles matches to take a stranglehold of the night.

“That was a very gritty win tonight for the guys,” coach George Husack said. “We started slow in doubles and Tennessee took advantage. We responded well in singles but moving indoors definitely sparked the intensity and energy to another level.”

After the Volunteers won back-to-back singles matchups to even up the series, Alabama went on to win four straight matches, including sophomore Matthew Rossouw’s gutsy win over Jack Heslin 6-3, 7-6(3).

In one of the closest matches of the night, Korey Lovett, the sophomore out of North Carolina, outlasted Tennessee’s Timo Stodder. The 81st ranked player in the nation prevailed after dropping the first set by winning the next two, including a second-set thriller that highlighted a volley that ended with a backhand winner. The final scores from the match were 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.

But in the end it was Alabama’s senior leader Becker O’Shaughnessey who clinched the victory for the Crimson Tide. The Macon, Georgia native beat Tennessee’s Jack Schipanski in straight sets 6-2, 7-6(2).

The Crimson Tide improves to 10-6 overall on the season and 2-1 in conference play, while Tennessee falls to 6-7 and have lost three straight conference match ups.

Alabama will look to defend its home court once again this Sunday in a doubleheader against The Citadel and the University of Kentucky, starting at 1 p.m.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports