By (Ben Boynton)

The final home match of the season for the Alabama men’s tennis team holds special significance. As the Crimson Tide hosted Vanderbilt on Sunday afternoon, it also recognized lone senior Becker O’Shaughnessey for Senior Day. The team was hoping for a win, both to close out the season and to send O’Shaughnessey off with a win.

But Alabama didn’t get the job done.

The Crimson Tide lost a 4-2 match to the Commodores to close out the regular season with a record of 14-12, 5-7 in the SEC.

“It started off slowly in doubles, but then we rebounded and got the job done there,” coach George Husack said. “Everytime we’ve played this team [Vanderbilt] they’ve been tough in singles. They’re very resilient. We had opportunities, but they slipped by.”

The match started off well for the Crimson Tide, as it captured its 20th doubles point of the season and its ninth in a row. O’Shaughnessey and sophomore Grayson Goldin took their match, 6-4. The next match belonged to Vanderbilt as freshman Spencer Richey and sophomore Matthew Rossouw fell, 7-5. It all came down to court one, where the No. 6 pair of sophomore Korey Lovett and freshman Mazen Osama delivered a tiebreaker win for the overall doubles point, 7-6 (7-5).

Singles play was split evenly between the two teams as both Vanderbilt and Alabama each took three-of-six first sets. The score was evened up when Vanderbilt defeated Osama, 6-1, 6-2. The Commodores regained the lead on court three, where O’Shaughnessey lost 6-3, 6-1. Alabama tied it back up and earned its last point of the match with Richey’s comeback win, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3.

“I just started executing better [after losing the first set],” Richey said. “I played more patiently and came up with more opportunities to attack, and that’s what my game is all about. Once that started, it was smooth sailing from there.”

Vanderbilt took a 3-2 lead by winning 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 over Rossouw and moments later, clinched the match with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over freshman Langford Hills. Lovett did not finish his match, the score being 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 3-4 when play was halted.

The loss drops the Crimson Tide to No. 8 in the SEC. The next match will be the SEC Tournament on April 21, where the team will face No. 9 Ole Miss. The winner of that match will face No. 1 Georgia in the next round. Alabama defeated Ole Miss, 4-3, on the road for the teams’ April 3 meeting.

“Everyone is competing really well,” O’Shaughnessey said. “In doubles, we’re playing really well and in singles there some guys, including me, that have a lot to improve on. We’ve just got to work on that and hope it pays off.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports