RUTLAND, Vt. – Winning five of six matches in singles, the Castleton University men's tennis team defeated Norwich University 7-2 at Grand Slam Tennis Center on Tuesday afternoon.
After earning a split in the season series, Castleton improved to 6-4 overall. Meanwhile, Norwich fell to 4-3.
Defining what the Castleton-Norwich rivalry is all about, the Spartans and one-half of the Cadets second doubles teams played a thriller for the second time this season. Less than a month ago, Castleton's Trevor Hanna and Brody Wagner battled Norwich's Hadley Ellis and Sam Beiter, clinching a 9-8 (10-7) victory.
On Tuesday, it was another classic as Hanna and Wagner faced Beiter and Tripp Wilson. It was all Norwich to start as the Cadets jumped out to a 4-1 lead. Castleton attempted to make a comeback, breaking Norwich's serve three games in a row; yet the Spartans couldn't hold serve and the visiting team raced to a 7-4 lead.
Moments later Hanna and Wagner kicked it into high gear, breaking the Norwich serve twice and holding their own to take the 8-7 lead. Regrouping, Beiter and Wilson forced a tiebreak and claimed a minibreak to go up 1-0. However, like flipping a switch, the Spartans won 10 of the following 12 points to earn the 10-3 tiebreak win.
Prior to watching the second doubles action, the first and third flights went relatively routinely. In the top spot, Norwich defeated Castleton 8-6, while the Spartans claimed the third doubles match 8-5.
During singles action, Castleton kept the momentum rolling out of doubles as Quentin Barthe downed Dylan Ackerman in straight sets 6-3, 6-3. The other half of the first doubles' teams played at second singles with Alexi Gilmore downing Castleton's Jared Wheeler 6-1, 6-2.
With the score 3-2 in favor of Castleton, the Spartans kept their foot on the gas in an effort to avoid another Norwich comeback. Ryan Mulder, Hanna, Wagner and Nate Hinson each picked up straight-set wins.
Castleton returns to the courts at 2 p.m. on Friday as it travels to face Sage, while Norwich returns home for a conference contest against Suffolk.
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