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Montgomery spurs tennis to victory

The Virginia men's tennis team faced one of its toughest tests of the season but managed to pull out a 4-2 victory over Ohio State yesterday with some timely singles victories.

The day began inauspiciously for the No. 20 Cavaliers (7-0), who crushed Liberty and UNC-Greensboro Saturday in their spring debut at the Sheridan Snyder Tennis Center. Virginia dropped two of the three doubles matches yesterday, losing the doubles point for the first time this season.

In the unfamiliar position of trailing by a point right off the bat, the Cavs needed singles wins more than usual. They were up to the challenge, winning four of the five completed singles matches to escape with a victory against the Buckeyes (6-4).

Things started looking up for the Cavaliers early in the singles competition, when Brian Vahaly - the No. 4 player in the nation - and fellow junior Tommy Croker made quick work of their opponents in straight sets.

But after Ohio State's Phil Metz defeated Virginia senior John Winter 6-3, 7-5, the Cavs looked to be in big trouble, tied 2-2 overall and down a set in each of the remaining matches.

The tide started to turn when the 6-foot-7 Cavalier junior Robert Abendroth used his monstrous serve to rally for an intensely fought three-set victory over Buckeye Robert Wellstein at No. 6. But the Cavs still needed a fourth win to clinch the team victory.

Aware of his team's precarious circumstances, Virginia junior Huntley Montgomery came from behind against Chris Porter, Ohio State's top singles player, winning 6-7, 6-2, 6-4.

"I always watch the scoreboard," Montgomery said. "I knew how important the match was."

Early in the match, it looked like Porter would avenge the three-set loss he suffered against Montgomery in September at the National Clay Court Championships.

"Huntley had chances in the first set, but it got away from him," Virginia Coach Dick Stockton said. "He's experienced. He's been through a lot."

In the doubles matches, the biggest upset of the day came when Ohio State's Andrew Carlson and John Scale beat Vahaly and Montgomery, the No. 11 duo in the nation.

The Cavaliers fared no better in the No. 2 doubles match, as Winter and Croker - the country's No. 37 pair, fell to Porter and Metz. Brian Hunter and Abendroth earned Virginia's only doubles win of the day.


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