The no.1 – ranked men’s tennis team fell victim to its first defeat on Friday. The Eagles hosted Auburn-Montgomery University (Ala.) on Friday at the Woodruff P.E. Center (WoodPEC). Auburn-Montgomery is the no.2 ranked team in the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Emory won its first two matches of the season, against Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) and Oglethorpe University. The Eagles swept both teams in a double-header last Friday. They faced off against ABAC at 1 p.m. and Oglethorpe at 5 p.m.

The Eagles were led to victory in these matches by seniors Eric Halpern and Elliot Kahler. Halpern was slotted at the number one position where he defeated ABAC’s number one, Kamil Oliver Snaider, 6-7, 7-5, 6-3 and Oglethorpe’s number one Ethan Motz 6-2, 6-0.

Kahler is on the number one doubles team, where he teamed up with sophomore Ian Wagner to win both matches. At the number four singles position he beat ABAC’s Parker Woodall 6-2, 6-2 and Oglethorpe’s Ben Hirsch 6-1, 6-2.

Auburn-Montgomery came into the match at 2-1. In their most recent match, they defeated Martin Methodist College 9-0.

Friday’s match-up, between the Eagles and Auburn-Montgomery was close, but Auburn-Montgomery came out on top, 5-4.

“The match last Friday was a tough one,” Halpern said. “We really didn’t play our best but it is still early in the season and we know that we can do better.”

Auburn-Montgomery’s number one and number two players, Nico Pinones and Tim Hewitt, led the charge with 6-4, 6-3 and 6-1, 6-3 victories over Halpern and sophomore Alex Ruderman respectively.

Auburn-Montgomery’s team player  Zinelabidine Jouini defeated Kahler at the four position, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 to give the team three singles wins.

Emory’s number two, five and six positions came back strong to tie the match at three going into doubles play. Wagner defeated Bence Toth 6-2, 6-4, freshman Rafe Mosetick defeated Miguel Grifol 4-6, 6-3, 10-4, and sophomore Nick Szczurek came from behind to defeat Othmane Lalami 2-6, 6-3, 10-4.

Doubles play is where Auburn-Montgomery earned its victory.

A team of Halpern and Ruderman managed to come out on top against Jouini and Lalami, 8-6, but from there it was all Auburn-Montgomery. Hewitt and Toth defeated Kahler and Wagner, 8-5, and Pinones and Grifol defeated Sczurek and junior Ayush Bajoria 8-6.

This allowed Auburn-Montgomery to come out on top with a final tally of 5-4.

“Although it wasn’t to another D3 team, I think the loss will help motivate all of us and make us train even harder,” Halpern said. “I can assure you we will be ready when we play them again in April.”

The top-ranked Eagles return to action today at 2 pm against Washington & Lee University. The game will be played at the WoodPEC.

By Nathaniel Ludewig