by Kevin Buczek
WILSON, N.C.-Transfer Santiago Robles rallied from a first set deficit and defeated sophomore Daniel Radu in three sets to squeak out a 5-4 Conference Carolinas men's tennis victory for visiting North Greenville University over Barton College on Saturday afternoon.
With the five other singles matches having already completed play, Robles and Radu went into the third set knowing the winner would be the decisive fifth team point as well.
Radu played strong for the Bulldogs jumping out 2-0 but Robles answered with the next two games to knot the score. Radu regain the lead at 3-2 and 4-3 by breaking Robles serve but the transfer, who was 10-2 at Stillman College last season, won the next three games to clinch the victory. Radu won the first set 6-3 but Robles ended up taking the tilt with 7-5 and 6-4 wins in the next two sets.
All three doubles matches were decided by matching 9-7 scores. Barton's top tandem of sophomore Rafael Ruiz and freshman Jake McCartney moved to 7-1 together winning the Bulldogs lone doubles point. NGU took a 2-1 edge winning the other two doubles bouts by the narrowest of margins.
The Bulldogs raced back to level the match at 4-4 with straight set wins in the top three singles matches. Ruiz (6-2) posted a 6-1, 6-2 victory; junior Max Leppert (5-1) coasted 6-0, 6-0; and McCartney (6-0) provided a 6-2, 6-4 triumph.
NGU never trailed because of a pair of straight set wins at No. 4 and No. 5 in the lineup.
The Crusaders moved to 4-4 overall and 3-1 in the conference while the Bulldogs dipped to 6-2 and 1-2.
Barton next plays at NCAA Division I East Carolina University on Sunday at 5 p.m.