Boiling Springs, N.C. - Gardner-Webb men's tennis picked up its first Big South win and kept its undefeated home record intact with a 5-2 win over Conference newcomer Longwood at the Webb Tennis Complex on Saturday.
GWU, playing for the second day in a row, was able to win its second straight in knocking off the visiting Lancers.
In its Big South home opener, Gardner-Webb (7-4, 1-1 Big South) got off to a fast start against Longwood (3-8, 0-5 Big South), who had dropped four consecutive matches coming into Saturday's contest.
The Runnin' Bulldogs swept doubles play, getting wins at No.'s 1, 2, and 3 doubles to jump out to a 1-0 lead over the Lancers. The No. 3 doubles tandem of Joao Poli and Brendan Dempsey took an 8-0 win against Harry Kelleher/Bharani Sankar and, at No. 2 doubles, Nikita Zverkov and Ernest Alberch teamed up to win 8-5 over Steed Johnson/Giorgi Khmiadashvili and clinch the doubles point for GWU.
Senior Matt Parker (Marietta, Ga.) and Benjamin Kaszás rallied to win at the No. 1 doubles spot against the Longwood duo Daniel Elston/Edward Becker by an 8-7 (5) margin.
GWU's momentum rolled over to singles play. A great weekend for senior Roman Piftor continued on Saturday, as the Tashkent, Uzbekistan native, who clinched the match with a dramatic No. 3 singles victory against Texas-Pan American on Friday, held down the No. 3 spot once again for the Runnin' Bulldogs with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Becker.
Alberch (Torello, Spain) gave GWU a 3-0 lead in the match with a 6-1, 6-2 win against Kelleher at No. 4 singles. The sophomore won his seventh singles match of the season on Saturday.
Longwood kept slim hopes alive thanks to a No. 2 singles win from Elston, who countered a rally by Kaszás with a late third set run of his own to take a 6-0, 2-6, 7-6 (1) victory.
Nikita Zverkov (Moscow, Russia) got the clinching point for the Runnin' Bulldogs at No. 6 singles. Zverkov won a pivotal first set by holding off four match points to break Justin Higg's serve. The freshman, who would go on to win the first set by tiebreak, weathered a second set loss to outlast Higgs in the third set and garner a 7-6 (3), 2-6, 7-5 win.
No. 1 singles player Adam Knutsson-Sundblad (Gothenburg, Sweden) tacked on a win with the ultimate outcome already decided in GWU's favor. The senior battled back for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win against Khmiadashvili.
The Runnin' Bulldogs stay in Conference play for a Monday match against Campbell. GWU hosts the Fighting Camels on March 18 at 2:30 p.m.