The No. 3-ranked men’s tennis team defeated the University of Mary Washington (Va.) Eagles 6-3 in a battle of nationally ranked teams on Saturday. Emory moved to 9-5 on the season with the win over No. 25-ranked UMW.

Head Coach John Browning was pleased with his team’s performance.

“This is a young team,” Browning said. “We’ve had a lot of guys step up.”

Emory was down early after the doubles portion of the match. Their sole victory came in the No. 1 spot, as the team of senior Elliot Kahler and sophomore Ian Wagner battled UMW counterparts sophomore Donato Rizzolo and sophomore Evan Charles to a 9-7 victory.

Kahler and Wagner improved their record to 16-3 on the season, including a 12-2 mark in the No. 1 spot. The Eagles did not fare as well in the other two doubles matches. Junior Jackson Isaacs and junior Eric Seidelman fell 8-5 in the second spot, while freshman Will Adams and junior Ayush Bajoria dropped a close 8-6 decision, giving Mary Washington a 2-1 lead.

It was Isaacs and Seidelman’s first match of the season together, while Adams and Bajoria fell to 4-3 on the year.

Emory fell in the first singles match as well, as Wagner was defeated by UMW sophomore Tyler Carey, 7-5, 7-5. It was the only singles match that Emory would lose on the day, however, and two of just three sets the team dropped in singles play.

It was Wagner’s first shot in the No. 1 singles spot this season, with number-one player Eric Halpern out with mono.

Sophomore Alex Ruderman rebounded in the second singles match with a victory over junior Alex Blakhin, 6-2, 6-1. Ruderman now stands at 13-7 on the season, including 6-3 in the second spot.

Freshman Rafe Mosetick improved to 13-5 on the season in his first crack in the number-three spot, defeating his UMW opponent 6-1, 6-3.

Kahler, Adams and junior Simon Lavoie-Perusse all contributed wins in the remaining matches, only dropping one set between the three of them.  Emory should have Halpern back in time for the University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships, where they will begin their quest for a national title.

“That’s the unspoken goal,” Browning said. “When you start thinking about the future, you lose your focus.”

Emory will try to build on the win on Tuesday, the team’s lone match of the week, when they take on Sewanee University (Tenn.) on the road at 3 p.m.

By Ryan Smith