GWU's Upset Bid Falls Short, No. 3 Presbyterian Advances to Tournament Seminfinals with Dramatic 4-2 Win -—Official Web Site of Gardner-Webb Athletics
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Senior Roman Piftor (Tashkent, Uzbekistan) got the Runnin' Bulldogs right back in the match when it needed a big singles win. Piftor earned a 6-3, 6-2 No. 3 singles win Thursday against No. 3 Presbyterian.
Courtesy: Saxon Simpson
GWU's Upset Bid Falls Short, No. 3 Presbyterian Advances to Tournament Seminfinals with Dramatic 4-2 Win
Courtesy: Gardner-Webb
          Release: April 19, 2013
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Rock Hill, S.C. - Gardner-Webb fought despite being down 1-0 after doubles play, pushing No. 3 Presbyterian to the brink in its Big South Quarterfinal match, but had its singles rally quelled by a talented Blue Hose squad in a 4-2 loss on Thursday at the Winthrop Memorial Tennis Courts.

The loss ends GWU's season, as Gardner-Webb concludes 2013 with a 9-11 overall record as well as a much improved 3-6 Big South mark.

Friday's competitive match was an appropriate way for Mike Griffith's squad to end its 2013 campaign.

Doubles play left the Runnin' Bulldogs down 1-0. A gritty effort from Adam Knutsson-Sundblad and Nikita Zverkov at No. 2 doubles was thwarted by Presbyterian's Rafael Berghaus/Grayson Mills pairing, with the Blue Hose taking a hard-earned 8-6 win.

Presbyterian would go on to clinch the opening doubles point behind an 8-4 win from Danny Bruce/Edward Snead, who got past the Runnin' Bulldogs' Benjamin Kaszás/Joao Poli.

At No. 1 doubles, Gardner-Webb's Matt Parker/Ernest Alberch pairing fought toe-to-toe with the Blue Hose' Andrew Brigham/William O'Connell. The match went unfinished with Presbyterian's duo leading 7-6 at the conclusion.

Facing a 1-0 deficit entering singles play, the Runnin' Bulldogs would need singles wins at four of the six positions to advance past the Blue Hose into the Tournament Semifinals.

Gardner-Webb responded, winning the first set at No.'s 5, 6, and 3 to get right back in the match. At No. 1 singles, Knutsson-Sundblad pushed a tight match with Grayson Mills to take a 6-5 lead late in the first set, only to see Mills take the first set, 7-6, meaning the Blue Hose and Runnin' Bulldogs split the first sets at the six singles positions 3-3.

Facing a one set deficit, Alberch (Torello, Spain) fought back to put Danny Bruce in a 3-0 hole early in set number two at No. 4 singles. The sophomore would hold on to take set two, 7-6, and force a deciding third set.

Piftor got the Runnin' Bulldogs on the board at No. 3 singles, winning a key match for his team by defeating Berghaus 6-3, 6-2 to tie the match at 2-2.

At No. 6 singles, GWU kept its momentum rolling with a win from sophomore Brendan Dempsey (Dublin, Ireland), who handed Presbyterian's Gonzalo Asis his first Conference loss of the season in a 6-4, 6-3 win. Dempsey's win, his 13th singles win of the season, pushed Gardner-Webb into the lead at 2-1.

Mills tied the score at 2-2 with a 7-6, 6-3 win at the No. 1 position, and the Blue Hose took the lead when Andrew Brigham battled back for a 6-3, 4-6, 0-6 win at No. 5 singles, forcing Gardner-Webb to win the remaining matches at No.'s 2 and 4 singles from Kaszás and Alberch.

Presbyterian clinched at No. 2 singles, where O'Connell finished a dramatic 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 win against Kaszás.

The No. 4 singles match between Alberch and Bruce went unfinished with Bruce leading 3-2 in the third set.

The Big South Tournament continues Friday morning.



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