(LEXINGTON, Ky.) – The Piedmont men’s tennis team concluded its season-opening trip to Kentucky with a 5-4 loss to Ohio Northern on Sunday morning.

After a successful run of third-set tiebreakers on Saturday, the Lions dropped all three match-deciding breakers to the Polar Bears in the close loss.

Piedmont put the first point of the match on the board as Simon Johnstone and Silas Sandles prevailed 8-5 at No. 3 doubles. The win improves the duo to 12-1 on the weekend and 11-3 as doubles partners dating back to last season.

The Lions then made it 2-0 a few minutes later as sophomores Connor Phelps and Yannick Wassmer Navarro outlasted their opponents 8-6 at No. 1 doubles.

Then, with the Lions attempting to create the doubles sweep, Bryce VanOrder and Mike Porcelli fell in a tiebreaker 8-7 (2), to give ONU momentum going into singles action.

Piedmont was able to take the first set at No. 1 through No. 3 singles and dropped the first set at No. 4 through No. 6.

The Polar Bears were able to close out a pair of straight-set victories at No. 4 and No. 5 to briefly jump ahead 3-2 in the match. However, the Lions answered back, as Wassmer Navarro and freshman Mark Backeberg took care of a pair of two-set wins themselves to make it 4-3 in favor of the Lions.

Unfortunately, from there, Phelps and Simon Johnstone dropped third-set match tiebreakers with Phelps’ going 12-10 in favor of ONU to clinch the match for the Polar Bears.

Up next, the Lions will be in tournament action again next weekend in North Carolina, first battling Pfeiffer next Friday, Feb. 16 at 10 a.m.

1. Connor Phelps/Yannick Wassmer Navarro (Piedmont) def.  Thomas Schultz/Samrvir Sran (ONU) 8-6
2. Peyton Specht/Tyler Wood (ONU) def. Mike Porcelli/Bryce VanOrder (Piedmont) 8-7 (2)
3. Silas Sandles/Simon Johnstone (Piedmont) def. Kessler Hackenberger/Drew Swisher (ONU) 8-5

1. Yannick Wassmer Navarro (Piedmont) def. Samrvir Sran (ONU) 6-4, 6-4
2. Mark Backeberg (Piedmont) def. Peyton Specht (ONU) 6-3, 6-2
3. Thomas Schultz (ONU) def. Connor Phelps (Piedmont) 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10)
4. Ashton Hesson (ONU) def. Silas Sandles (Piedmont) 6-0, 6-3
5. Kavya Desai (ONU) def. Jackson Traylor (Piedmont) 6-1, 6-4
6. Tyler Wood (ONU) def. Simon Johnstone (Piedmont) 6-2, 2-6, 1-0 (5)

– Trailing 4-3, the Polar Bears were able to take the last two matches, each in third-set match breakers, to overtake the Lions.

– Sandles and Johnstone improved to 3-0 on the weekend in doubles action, putting Piedmont’s first point on the board.
– Freshman Mark Backeberg was a perfect 3-0 in singles action this weekend, winning on Sunday in his first try at No. 2 singles.

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