MASON, Ohio - Sophomore Tommy Marx gutted out a three-set victory at No. 4 singles for the clinching point in the Butler men's tennis team's 4-3 win over Saint Joseph's in the Atlantic 10 Men's Tennis Championship.
Marx out-lasted SJU's Tommy Gates 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, overcoming leg cramps to clinch a conference tournament win for the Bulldogs.
"Tommy was cramping in his legs and he came to the net for everything," head coach Parker Ross said. "It was a gutsy win."
Butler (10-12) advances to play the tourney's top seed, VCU, Friday morning. The Rams are ranked 30th in the nation according to the most recent ITA college tennis rankings.
BU, the conference's No. 9 seed, won the match on the strength of the bottom half of the lineup. Billy Weldon and Brandon Woods each won handily, giving the Dawgs an early 3-1 lead in the dual match. Weldon beat Max Montague at No. 5 singles 6-3, 6-1 and Woods cruised 6-2, 6-0 over Jeff Kessler at No. 6.
The Bulldogs won the doubles point, with Woods and Pulok Bhattacharya winning 8-2 at No. 2 doubles. Weldon and Austin Woldmore followed with an 8-4 victory at No. 1 doubles. No. 3 doubles went unfinished. Saint Joseph's, the tournament's No. 8 seed, won at Nos. 1-3 singles.
The victory lifted Butler to 10 dual wins for the first time since 2010. Under the first-year coach Ross, the Bulldogs have improved from four wins to 10.