WILMORE, Ky. —
IU Southeast freshman Jonathan James came back from a 6-3 deficit in a second-set tiebreak to defeat Nesbert Vaval at No. 2 singles, 6-4, 7-6 (13-11) to help the Grenadiers win the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championship last Saturday against host Asbury, 5-4. It is IU Southeast’s first conference tournament title since 2009.
The Grenadiers (12-6) fell behind the Eagles 2-1 after doubles play, as Jeffersonville High School graduate Shane Burke and Floyd Central graduate Justin Batliner picked the lone win for IU Southeast, 8-5 over Stephen Woods and Justin Westlund at No. 3 doubles.
Burke easily dispatched Woods at No. 3 singles, 6-2, 6-2. The Grenadiers’ Bryson Mills defeated Deuce Gibson at four singles, 6-3, 6-1.
Asbury picked up wins at No. 1 and No. 6 singles. But Floyd Central product Alex Martin defeated Nick Streibeck at No. 5 singles, 7-5, 7-5. That left the No. 2 battle between Vaval and James as the deciding match.
IU Southeast coach Joe Epkey earned a conference title victory in his first season at the Grenadiers’ helm.
The complete NAIA Men’s Tennis National Championship tournament field will be announced in early May. The tournament will take place from May 13-17 at the Mobile Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala.
— News and Tribune