UTC tennis team narrowly misses bridge collapse - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UTC tennis team narrowly misses bridge collapse

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MURRAY, Ky. (UTC) -- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's tennis team started its first road weekend of the spring season with an impressive 7-0 sweep at Murray State on Friday morning.

But that wasn't the biggest news of their road trip.

The Mocs were on their way to their hotel near the Kenlake Tennis Center, north of Murray, Ky., when they crossed the Eggner Ferry Bridge on US 68. Minutes later, a large cargo ship slammed into the bridge, causing it to collapse.

"Our hotel was less than a mile after we crossed the bridge," said head coach Carlos Garcia. "When we checked in, the desk attendant told us the bridge had collapsed. I really thought she was joking, but we could not have missed it by more than five minutes. We were very lucky."

Word quickly spread about the Mocs barely making it across and the team was interviewed by many of the local media outlets. Fortunately, there were no injuries reported on the bridge or the ship. Despite the near-miss, the team was still sharp for its 12:30 p.m. (E.S.T.) first serve on Friday morning.

UTC swept the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead, sparked by juniors Chris Smith and Roberto Vieira's 8-3 win at No. 1. Fellow juniors Stephen Crofford and Ankit Chopra followed up with an 8-6 win at No. 2 while sophomore Orlando Lourenco and freshman Pavels Grigorjevs  won 8-5 at No. 3.

Chattanooga kept the momentum when Vieira posted a speedy (6-1, 6-1) win at No. 1. Chopra and juniors Jackson Tresnan (Apopka, Fla.) and Manuel Barroetavena (Buenos Aires, Argentina) also won in straight sets. Smith and Grigorjevs closed out the match with three-set wins at No. 2 and No. 6, respectively.

"Any time you can get a road win, it is huge," stated Garcia. "To get a sweep considering the situation, I was very proud of the way the guys responded."

The Mocs will now look for a detour to Nashville, Tenn., for the next match against Middle Tennessee. UTC faces the Blue Raiders on Sunday, Jan. 29, at 11:00 a.m. (E.S.T.) at the Nashboro Village Athletic Club.

Information provided by UTC Sports Information and GoMocs.com.

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