South ends Troy’s men’s tennis season in conference semis

Michael Shipma

Sports Editor

The Troy men’s tennis team rallied to defeat Georgia Southern before falling to top-seeded Georgia State last weekend in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in Peachtree, Georgia.

The Trojans wrapped up a 13-win season on Saturday after falling 4-0 to the Panthers in the quarterfinals. The loss to Georgia State was the last match for Troy Head Coach Scott Kidd, as he announced in March that he would resign at the end of the season.

Against fifth-seeded Georgia Southern on Friday, Troy struggled early when senior Mustapha Belcora and Oskar Michalek fell 6-4 in doubles play. Sun Belt Freshman of the Year Pelayo Antuña and Jiaqi Duan also fell 6-4 in doubles play as the Eagles earned the doubles point for the match.

To start off singles competitions, Michalek fell 7-5 and 6-2 in the first two sets.

Belcora fell 7-5, 6-1, giving the Eagles a three-point advantage before Troy could get on the board.

Antuña took a 6-4 victory over Eduardo Landin to get Troy its first set win and its first point on the day.

Jiaqi Duan then split the first two sets before taking the third set to win the match and continue Troy’s momentum.

Andy Lau and Amer Bedwan both split their first two sets and came up big in the third set to keep the Trojans in contention.

Lau won 6-1 to knot the teams at three matches each. Bedwan won his third set 6-2 to complete the comeback and put the Trojans over the Eagles 4-3 to advance to the second round.

The win marks the second-consecutive season in which Troy has won a Sun Belt Championship match.

On Saturday against Georgia State, the Trojans could not create the same momentum they did the day prior.

Lau fell 6-3, 6-1, and Belcora dropped his match 6-1, 6-4 as both seniors ended their careers at Troy.

Michalek put up a fight as Troy’s last chance in the tournament, but he ultimately fell 7-5, 6-4 as the top-seeded Panthers shut out the Trojans.

The Panthers would go on to the tournament championship and lose 4-1 to third-seed South Alabama, which shut out Appalachian State in its semifinal game.

The Trojans won seven of their last nine regular-season matches to finish the season with a 13-11 record, marking the fourth year in a row the team finished with a winning record.

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