When freshman Alex Pavkovich stepped onto the court for his singles match, little did he know that the weight of the entire day would fall on his shoulders for App State men’s tennis.
Falling behind in the first set, Pavkovich saw his teammates get ahead on the scoreboard, putting the Mountaineers (10-6, 0-1 Sun Belt) up 3-2 overall, but after UNC Greensboro’s (6-8) Jack Burkill took down App State sophomore Alex Brea, Pavkovich knew it was all up to him.
Battling back after a 6-4 defeat in the first set, Pavkovich won the next two sets, clinching App State’s fourth straight victory at 4-3. Delivering on a monster serve, Pavkovich ended his match winning three consecutive games.
“Our number one, Scott [Webster] came over to me when it was 4-3, and the other guy was about to serve,” head coach Bob Lake said. “He told me to tell Pav to stand back a little back because the guy was serving big, and so Pav stood back, and after the first one, he got everything else back in play.”
Before his team mobbed him at the match’s conclusion, they were able to pick up key wins to put the freshman in a position to finish off the day. Winning the doubles point, the Mountaineers picked up a 7-5 win from senior Jack Maddocks and senior Trey Morris, followed by Brea’s and Pavkovich’s tiebreaker victory over the opposing Spartan tandem.
Entering the singles round, the top two Mountaineer seeds lost in straight sets, but Morris kept his team in contention, notching a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Greensboro’s Warren Bryan.
“I knew that we had to win at least one of those three to have a shot at it,” Morris said. “If you go up and lose your top three, then you are going to struggle, so for me I knew it may come down to me for the top three.”
Winning two of those three matches, Pavkovich and Bargeron propelled their team to victory. At the end of the day, Pavkovich’s comeback victory gained his team a victory in the first of four consecutive match days, and it also gave him some added confidence.
“That was the biggest match this season for me,” Pavkovich said. “It was big for me and the team because this was our best win this season and coming off the Florida trip, having this win is good.”
The Mountaineers continue their four game home stand on Saturday, April 1 against USC Upstate.
Story By: Tyler Hotz, Senior Sports Reporter