The Elon University men’s tennis team dropped both of its matches in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association tournament (ITA) on Friday, Jan. 23 through Saturday, Jan 24 in Athens, Georgia.

In its opening match against the University of Utah Utes on Friday, the Phoenix lost in a competitive 4-3 decision.

Elon had standout performances from seniors Juan Madrid and Brian Kowalski. Madrid ousted Utah freshman Freddie McGeehan in a long 6-5, 4-6, 6-3 victory while Kowalski handled junior Matt Cowley in a quicker, but competitive 6-5, 6-4 match that tied the score to 2-2 on the day. Phoenix senior Stefan Fortmann fell in the No. 1 singles match in straight sets to Ute senior Slim Hamza – a match that sunk Elon into a 3-2 hole that it would not recover from. Elon freshman Neal Port’s four-set effort was not enough to beat Utah freshman Santiago Sierra as the Utes clinched the match in his 6-7, 6-8, 7-5, 6-3 win.

A highlight of the day came with Elon taking the advantage in the doubles matches as the Phoenix’s top tandem of sophomore Chris Humphreys and senior Jordan Kauffman won a swift 6-1 decision against Utah’s Freddie McGeehan and Slim Hamza.

On Saturday, the men’s team faced the Michigan State University Spartans in the consolation match of the ITA tournament. The match did not go as well for the Phoenix in a 4-0 loss to end the tournament as the Spartans won every match with relative ease.

The closest match of the day for Elon came at the No. 1 doubles team of Fortmann and Kowalski who played a tight game that resulted in a 5-5 tie against Spartan senior Brett Forman and sophomore Gijs Linders. Michigan State would go on to sweep singles play against the Phoenix, however the matches of Fortmann and Neal Port who end unfinished.

With the two losses over the weekend, Elon falls to 0-4 to start the season and will travel to Virginia on Feb. 7-8 for matches against Old Dominion University and Virginia Commonwealth University.

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