Mocs Jump to Early Lead but Can't Hold On in 5-3 Loss to #6 Ouachita Baptist
LAKELAND - With the #6 ranked team in the country on the ropes, the 13th-ranked Moccasins couldn't quite land the knock-out blow. After winning all three doubles matches, Florida Southern dropped all five singles matches that were finished, as Ouachita Baptist (AR) rallied for a 5-3 win.
The Moccasins (8-4) got off to a roaring start behind Michael Knoedler and Roman Schirmaier, who captured the top doubles flight with an 8-1 win over JC Diame and Pierre Tafelski. After C.J. Johnson and Christian Lange won their match at the #3 position, the Mocs got their biggest win from Brian deMontfort and Ben Taylor, who upended the 10th-ranked doubles team of Till Heilshorn and Jan Plewinski, 9-7.
That sent Florida Southern into singles play with a 3-0 lead, but the Tigers (10-1) responded by getting straight-set wins from Tafelski, Heilshorn and Daniel Moser to tie the match. The play at #1 and #2 singles was a bit tighter, but the Tigers came out on top in both of those matches as well.
In each of the top two singles flights, Ouachita Baptist lost the first set and Florida Southern won the second. Schirmaier won his on a tie-breaker at #2, forcing Diame into the extra set and holding off victory by the Tigers. In the end though, Diame won the match with a 6-1, 6-7 (2), 6-1 decision, and Plewinski clinched the match at roughly the same time with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-0 win over Knoedler.
Ouachita Baptist was the fourth top-ten team the Moccasins have played this year. The Tigers were beginning a five-day, five-match road trip to Florida where they will take on Florida Southern, Rollins, Barry, Saint Leo and Florida Tech. Monday's match was the third time this year they've trailed after doubles, but come back to win the match, all of them against highly ranked opponents.
Florida Southern's next scheduled match is Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Kissimmee against Southern New Hampshire, then Saturday the Moccasins host #10 Rollins College at 1 p.m.