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Men's Tennis: Cox, O'Brien Impress at UTC's Steve Baras Fall Classic

Chris Cox (left), Michael O'Brien (right)
Chris Cox (left), Michael O'Brien (right)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Playing against NCAA Division I competition, Covenant men's tennis freshman Chris Cox and sophomore Michael O'Brien pulled out four total victories at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga's Steve Baras Fall Classic over the weekend.

Cox, a freshman from Maitland, Fla., knocked off Murray State's Anjan Kashyab 6-3, 6-2 in his first match in Flight 4 before falling to Colin Hart of Eastern Kentucky 6-4, 6-3 in the second round. Hart would go on to win the Flight 4 singles title. In the consolation bracket, Cox fell to Belmont's Hans Nardelli 6-7 (5), 6-1, 10-6.

Also competing in Flight 4 was O'Brien. The sophomore from Nashville, Tenn., knocked off Mason Grear of Chattanooga in a third set tiebreak 7-5, 5-7, 10-6. O'Brien was later defeated by Carson Panovec of Lipscomb, who then went on to lose to Hart in the Flight 4 finals. O'Brien would get another victory in the consolation bracket as he knocked off Sam Kellet of Jacksonville State 6-0, 5-7, 12-10 before falling to Nardelli 0-6, 6-0, 10-4.

Cox and O'Brien continued play in the doubles portion of the tournament and the duo defeated the doubles tandem of Gabe Pansera and Kellet 8-5. Cox and O'Brien dropped an 8-5 decision to a duo from Tennessee Tech and had an 8-4 loss against a team from Chattanooga.

"It was great to get four wins on the weekend, and we had a couple more close matches that could have gone either way," said head coach John Hirte, who enters his third season at the helm of the program. "They're both figuring out what it takes to consistently compete at a high level, and I'm very proud of how they competed against Division I opponents. It was definitely a confidence booster as we wrap up the fall and look ahead to the spring."

Covenant will open the spring season on Feb. 14 at home against Gadsden State.

Be sure to follow the Scots all season long on athletics.covenant.edu and on social media at FacebookTwitter and Instagram for up-to-date scores, news and other information.