By Abe Avila, Staff Writer—

This weekend the University of Tennessee Chattanooga Mocs men’s tennis team competed in the Chattanooga Collegiate Clay Court Championships on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

On the first day of the championships, Senior Niklas Gerdes, Geestland, Germany, of UTC defeated Eastern Illinois’ Max Pilipovic-Kljajic (6-1, 6-2) and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 32-man singles draw. 

Sophomore Thomas Rodriguez, Buenos Aires, Argentina, also advanced into the quarterfinals after he defeated EIU’s Daniel Hernandez [6-4, 7-6 (8)] in the second round, after advancing with a first round bye.

Senior Turner Voges, Chattanooga, defeated the EIU’s Christos Kyrillou (6-2, 6-3) in the first round while Junior Jacob Marshall, Bristol, Tenn., had an opening round win over UAB’s Chase Parker (6-2, 6-2).

Competitors awoke to a near city-wide water outage that lasted throughout the duration of the day, but the work of the Manker Patten staff and the UTC athletic trainers was enough to delay action for only 30 minutes. 

On the second day of the Chattanooga Collegiate Clay Court Championships, Tournament play had to be pushed back due to rain. Gerdes continued his dominant play with a 6-0 doubles win alongside Rodriguez against the Memphis tandem of Taylor & Sullivan. Gerdes also advanced in singles with a (6-1, 6-4) win over the Tiger’s Patrick Sydow

On the final day of the series the men’s tennis team was represented in the finals of both the singles and doubles draw. Gerdes led the Moc’s with a (6-2, 6-3) win over Troy’s Oskar Michalek in the morning semifinals, but struggled in the finals of the 32-man draw against Troy’s Charles Anton.

Gerdes and Rodriguez lost a 6-4 bout to Memphis’s Jan Palles and Patrick Sydow in the doubles finals, however UTC head coach and tournament organizer Chuck Merzbacher had praise for the team’s efforts. 

“I could not be more pleased with this effort at the 5Cs, Runner-up in singles and doubles with only one full week of tennis practice under our belts was a solid performance.” Vogues and Marshall won in doubles consolations over Eastern Illinois Pau Riera and Max Pilipovic-Kljajic (6-3).  Voges also scored a singles win in the backdraw, defeating the Panthers Daniel Hernandez (7-6 (8), 6-4).  

“I have to thank the Maker Patten Tennis Club for hosting this event,” Coach Merzbacher said. “I would also like to thank the UTC Athletic Training staff and our administration for pulling us through the water outage and helping us carry on with the event. There was a lot going on.”

Up next for the Mocs is the Alumni Match on Saturday, Sept. 21 at the UTC tennis center.

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