MARION, IN - With everything on the line in the Semi-Finals of the Crossroads League Tournament, Spring Arbor University's men's tennis team went on the road to the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University. The Cougars prevailed for the second time in Marion with a come from behind thriller 5-3 to earn a spot in the finals against Grace College on Saturday.
The #1 seeded Wildcats were 13-1 entering the match with the only loss being delivered by Spring Arbor just a few weeks ago. Spring Arbor, the fourth seed, suffered losses early in the season to Grace College and Marian University (both losses were 5-4).
The freshmen tandem of John Hall and Jesse DeBoer lost at three doubles by an 8-4 margin. But David Darling and Nate Scholten lost a tough match by the score of 9-8 (7-3 tie-breaker) as SAU fell behind 2-1 heading into singles action.
Needing to win four of the six singles matches for the win, the Cougars had their backs against the wall and came out swinging. Nathan Scholten, Aaron Mayes, and David Darling all won in straight sets to lift the Cougars to a 4-2 lead, but at about the same time, Michael Darling lost his match in straight sets to cut into the lead 4-3 with two matches remaining on the courts.
Thomas Calderone was in a dead heat at #1 singles dropping the first set 3-6, but winning the second set 6-3. Down 2-3 (on serve) in the third set, and with the game score at 30-30, Calderone heard a friendly roar nearby and knew what that meant. Matt Wojtkowski outlasted Brook Ayers at six singles 3-6, 6-0, 6-4 and winning his match with an emphatic ace, much to the delight of his teammates to secure the fifth point and send Spring Arbor to the finals.
With no reason to continue the match at one singles, Calderone and the Wildcat's Kyle Johnson shook hands and halted play.
The Cougars will now face Grace College on Saturday in Winona Lake. Grace (#2 seed) is the higher seed. The time is yet to be determined, but check the website as it will be posted as soon as it is available.