Panthers stay hot with win
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
LaGrange College’s men’s tennis team made easy work of USA South rival Huntingdon on a windy Wednesday afternoon.
The Panthers (10-4 overall) won eight of the nine matches to take an 8-1 victory and improve to 5-2 in conference play.
LaGrange College has won seven of its past nine matches, a hot streak that began with a road win over Huntingdon on Feb. 28.
Huntingdon’s only victory on Wednesday came at number four singles, with Mark Melchor edging John Mitchell Benton 11-9 in a tie-breaker after they split the first two sets.
The Panthers won the other five singles matches, as well as all three doubles matches.
As has been the case throughout the season, brothers Alan Valdez and Carlos Valdez had a key hand in the Panthers’ success.
The two freshmen, who are both from LaGrange and grew up playing the sport at McCluskey Tennis Center, combined to win four matches on Wednesday.
At number one doubles, Mitchell Corley and Alan Valdez overwhelmed John Jones and Ben Marler 8-0.
In the number two doubles match, Will Thompson and Carlos Valdez outlasted Bailey Burns and Melchor 8-6. At number three doubles, John Mitchell Benton and Trevor McLemore eased past Adam Self and Ethan Fuller 8-1.
The Valdez brothers also won their singles matches.
At number three singles, Alan Valdez beat Adam Self 6-2, 6-3, and Carlos Valdez handled Marler 6-2, 6-3 at number single singles.
Corley is the Panthers’ number one singles player, and he beat Jones 6-3, 6-2.
At number two singles, Thompson handled Burns 6-1, 6-1, and Geoffrey Martin was leading Fuller 6-0 when the match was pulled.
In Wednesday’s women’s match, Huntingdon beat LaGrange College 9-0.
The most competitive match came at number one singles, with Jenna Eppes losing to Kacy Howard at number one singles.
After they split the first two sets, Howard won the tiebreaker 10-6.
Two members of the LaGrange College lineup are seniors who played at local schools.
Kaitlin Smith went to Callaway, and Ali Herring graduated from LaGrange Academy.
Smith and Herring were teammates at number one doubles, and they both played singles as well.