Raleigh, NC - The Florida A&M men’s tennis team shut out the Norfolk State Spartans 4-0, but it was a fierce battle to the end. With the win, the Rattlers ad-vance to the championship match against nemesis South Carolina State, who defeated the Rattlers last year in the championship match.
The Rattlers started the day with the doubles point, winning two of three matches. Ad-mire Mushonga and Chidi Gabriel defeated NSU’s Daniel Graeul and Samuel Lemberger (8-2) in the No.3 slot. The Rattlers would be defeated in the No.2 slot (8-3) as Zach Evenden and Temuera Asafu-Adjaye were not able to hold off Igor Braga and Robin Ri-ethmueller. Salif Kante and Takura Happy finished with a victory over Dzmitry Zyh-mantovich and Peter Ramstromer-Pello (8-4) to take the doubles point.
Evenden felt the Rattlers were focused enough to get the job done against a tough confer-ence opponent. “ I feel it (match) was very tough today. We beat them in the conference match very, very easily. Everyone came out and did their job in that match, and I think there was a lot of pressure to come out and do that same thing today as easy as possible and get ready for tomorrow. I think we all did that pretty well, got the matches done and we can go into the next match with some confidence,” Evenden said.
Asafu-Adjaye was the first to strike for the Rattlers, defeating Lemberger (6-2, 6-2) in the No.6 position. Happy, who earned second team All-MEAC this year, took out Grauel (6-3, 6-2) to win the second singles match, leaving the Rattlers just one point shy of advanc-ing. In an emotional game at the No.1 slot, MEAC Player of the Year, Salif Kante de-feated a worthy opponent in Zyhmantovich (6-4, 6-4) to seal the win.
Mushonga, Evenden and Gabriel’s matches went unfinished as the Rattlers were declared the winners.
The Rattlers will face the Bulldogs in the MEAC Tennis Championship match tomorrow at 12 noon at the Millbrook Tennis Complex.