Radord, Va. - Gardner-Webb exchanged blow for blow with Radford on Saturday, ultimately falling just short in a tight 4-3 match in the Runnin' Bulldogs' regular season finale Saturday at the Radford Tennis Complex.
The opening doubles point set the tone for the match, as the matches at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions required tiebreaks to settle the opening point.
After Stijn Meulemans/Joe Mills gave Radford (7-11, 4-4 Big South) an 8-3 win at No. 2 doubles, GWU (9-10, 3-5 Big South) proved it would not surrender the opener easily, responding with a No. 3 doubles win. Brendan Dempsey and Joao Poli teamed up for a 9-8 (8-6) No. 3 triumph.
Gardner-Webb was put in a 2-0 hole after Dehaen cruised to the No. 3 singles win. Dempsey (Dublin, Ireland) came up with strong points at key moments in his No. 5 singles match to put the Runnin' Bulldogs on the board.
The sophomore scored a 7-5, 6-4 over the Highlanders' Javier Waase. Dempsey's No. 5 singles win on Saturday, his twelfth singles win of the season, cut Radford's lead to 2-1.
At No. 1 singles, Adam Knutsson-Sundblad (Gothenburg, Sweden) found himself locked in a tight second set after dropping set one versus Meulemans. The senior fought his way into a tiebreak, yet saw Meulemans prevail in a 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) match that swung momentum back into the Highlanders' court.
Radford clinched the match with another closely contested two-setter, this time at No. 6 singles. Patrick O'Keefe held off Poli (Londrina, Brazil) 7-5, 7-5 to seal a home win for the Highlanders.
Gardner-Webb finished off two singles wins with the outcome of the team match decided. Freshman Nikita Zverkov (Moscow, Russia) won for the second day in a row by outlasting Mills 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 at No. 4 singles, and senior Roman Piftor (Tashkent, Uzbekistan) moved his singles win total to 9 on the year with a tough 7-5, 3-6, 1-0 (10-7) match at No. 2 singles.
The Runnin' Bulldogs will find out their seed for the upcoming Big South Tournament by the end of the weekend. The 2013 League Championships take place April 18-20 in Rock Hill, S.C.