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MBA Tops Baylor For D-II AA Tennis Crown


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MURFREESBORO -- With high drama, and even higher quality of tennis on all six courts - i.e. vintage U.S. Open night finals with John McEnroe-Jimmy Connors - the MBA Big Red rallied to defeat previously undefeated Baylor, 4-2, in the BlueCross Spring Fling XVII D-II AA championship finals Wednesday afternoon.


Trailing 1-0 after Baylor won the doubles point, MBA (14-1) gained singles wins from Roger Briggs (No. 1) and the undefeated trio (Nos. 4-6) of Russ Anderson, David Thrailkill and Andrew Karpos for the 4-2 triumph.


“Summing up today, I feel a lot of joy in y’all winning the state championship and being able to avenge our only season loss (4-3 on April 29) by beating Baylor today,’’ said MBA coach Zac Hood, the state D-II singles runner-up for MBA a decade ago, to his team in post-match comments.


“Y’all deserved this championship so much, but just deserving it doesn’t win titles,’’ he said. “We had a fight on our hands, especially after losing the doubles point, and we had to go take it to ‘em and we did.’’


Anderson rallied from down a set to defeat Aditya Rali, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 at No. 4, Thrailkill stopped Alex Cooper, 6-1, 7-5, at No. 5 and Karpos defeated Eric Roddy, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 at No. 6. Anderson’s win clinched the team title.


Baylor (13-1) claimed the doubles point with wins by Carlos-Cuevas/Alex Cooper and Rali/Zach Moore.


Briggs was first off the court in singles to even the score at 1-1, but Baylor made it 2-1 with Cuevas triumphing at No. 2 with a 7-5, 6-4 win against Naveen Chadalavada..


Karpos was next off the court for MBA to make it 2-2, quickly followed by Karpos and Anderson to close it out with No. 3 singles still in progress.


“The finals was such a great match with ups and downs on both sides and truly outstanding play on every court,’’ said Baylor coach Ned Caswell.


“If a fan walked up not knowing what schools were playing he or she could easily think this was a pretty good college tennis match.’’


Hood agreed and believes that the last final with such evenly matched teams was when MBA defeated MUS, 4-3 in 2003.


“We were down 3-2 after singles and then had to win both doubles matches for the title.’’


Contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net

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