The Elon University men’s tennis team dropped a 5-2 decision to the 17th-ranked University of Tennessee Volunteers on Monday, Jan. 19 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Elon received its only two points of the day from the singles play of seniors Jordan Kaufman and Juan Madrid. Kaufman defeated Tennessee junior Jack Schipanski in a back-and-forth battle that ended in a 6-4, 6-3 victory for the Elon senior. Madrid earned his second singles victory in a row for the Phoenix in his match against senior Brandon Fickey who was forced to retire while leading 5-4 in the first set, resulting the final point of the day for Elon.

The Volunteers dominated the rest of singles play as Tennessee won the remainder of its matches in straight sets. The play of Elon senior Stefan Fortmann was not enough to defeat sixteenth-ranked volunteer, senior Mikelis Libietis, in a swift 6-1, 6-3 match. On court No. 2, Phoenix junior Robert Lindgren lost to redshirt senior Hunter Reese by an identical 6-1, 6-3 score.

Senior Brian Kowalski put forth one of the better efforts of the day for Elon, albeit in a 7-5, 6-4 loss at the hand of Tennessee freshman Igor Smelyanski while Elon freshman Josh Luck lost the final singles match of the day to freshman Luis Valero with a quick 6-1, 6-2 defeat.

In doubles play, Elon’s top tandem of Fortmann and Kowalski was not enough to defeat the second nationally ranked duo of Libietis and Reese in a hotly contested 6-4 match. The Volunteers put its finishing touches on the Phoenix with Tennessee senior Andrew Dromsky and sophomore Schipanski defeating Elon’s pair of Madrid and Lindgren by a score of 6-1. Kaufman and sophomore Chris Humphreys closed out play for the Phoenix with a 6-3 loss to Volunteer teammates of Smelyanski and Valero.

Elon will travel down south to Athens, Georgia for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Kickoff Weekend on Jan. 23-25. The Phoenix are scheduled for matches against the University of Utah on Jan. 23 and against either the University of Georgia or Michigan State University on Jan. 24 and 25.

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