Boiling Springs, N.C. - The Runnin' Bulldogs swept doubles and used wins at No.'s 4-6 singles to drive a 4-3 win over UNC Asheville on Monday in the squad's Big South home finale in a match that carried important Conference Tournament implications.
The win propels Gardner-Webb to 9-7 overall and 3-4 in League play this season.
A tight doubles point opened Monday's match. At all three positions, the squads exchanged game for game while the pressure to win two out of the three mounted.
It was the Runnin' Bulldogs who handled that pressure, first taking a momentum-turning 8-6 win at No. 1 doubles from senior Matthew Parker and sophomore Ernest Alberch. The point-clinching win came from Adam Knutsson-Sundblad and Nikita Zverkov, who defeated Asheville's Schubel/Kripak pairing by a 9-7 margin to make sure GWU would enter singles play with a 1-0 advantage.
GWU rode the momentum of a doubles point victory, getting quick wins at No.'s 4 and 5 singles to take a commanding 3-0 lead over the visiting Bulldogs. Alberch (Torello, Spain) improved to 11-4 on the year with a 6-2, 6-3 triumph over Alex Croker at No. 4. Zverkov, a freshman from Moscow, Russia, knocked off Asheville's John Schubel by a 6-2, 6-4 margin.
UNC Asheville (9-9, 2-6 Big South) showed fight on the road, countering with wins at No.'s 2 and 3 singles to cut GWU's lead to 3-2 thanks to wins from Matt Waissen and Daniel Kripak, respectively.
The clinching point of the match came from Brendan Dempsey, who won at No. 6 singles on Monday. The sophomore, Dublin, Ireland native outlasted Asheville's Brett Landau to win 7-5, 6-4 and pick up the critical fourth point of the match for the Runnin' Bulldogs.
With the match in hand, Knutsson-Sundblad, a senior from Gothenburg, Sweden, lost a hard-fought No. 1 singles match against Adrien Langeard, who earned a 7-6 (9-7), 6-7 (7-3), 11-9 victory for the visiting Bulldogs.
Monday's win for Gardner-Webb men's tennis improves their home record to a stellar 8-2 on the year, and moves the squad into fifth place in the Big South standings in the last week of the regular season.
The Runnin' Bulldogs are scheduled to host South Carolina State for the team's home finale and Senior Day for 2013. GWU's match against the Bulldogs, on Wednesday, April 10, is scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. start time.