JMU edges UR in great college atmosphere at Salisbury Country Club

By John Packett RTA Contributing Writer

JMU edges UR in great college atmosphere at Salisbury Country Club

RICHMOND– It was exactly the kind of competition you would expect to see from two evenly-matched college teams.

With the score tied 3-3 between the University of Richmond and James Madison University, the result came down to a final match on the court (No. 5 singles) at Salisbury Country Club’s indoor facility on Feb. 16.

That contest went to the wire, with Pierre Kohler (JMU) pulling out a 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (7-5) squeaker over James Aronson (UR) to give the Dukes a 4-3 victory over the Spiders.

Over 200 spectators were in attendance. 

The Dukes took a 3-0 lead by winning the doubles point and posting singles victories with Damon Roberts (No. 3 singles) and Paul Mendoza, the former Cosby High School standout.

Mendoza edged Caleb Troy 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-0) at No. 1 singles. 

Mendoza, who won the 6A state singles and doubles championships as a senior at Cosby, moved into the top spot this season after finishing last year at No. 2.

But the Spiders, under new coach Houston Barrick, battled back with singles wins from John Karlawish (No. 2), Klein Evans (No. 6) and former St. Christopher’s standout Matthew Fernandez.

Fernandez downed Theophile Lanthiez 6-1, 6-4 at No. 4.

That left Kohler and Aronson as the decisive match.

Kohler saved two set points in the opening frame before taking it in a tiebreaker. In the final set, Aronson broke Kohler to assume a 6-5 lead and served for the match but Kohler refused to allow it.

Before the final tiebreaker, JMU Head Coach Steve Secord said he gave his junior from France some advice.

“I’ve been trying to get him to play higher margins,” said Secord.

Aronson led 3-1 and 4-2 in the extra session but the UR senior couldn’t maintain his advantage.

After taking a 6-5 lead with a backhand down the line, Kohler came into the net behind a volley and forced Aronson to send a forehand long.

The victory gave JMU a 5-1 record. The Dukes carried the momentum into the following day, routing Morgan State 7-0.

The Spiders fell to 4-5 with the loss and dropped a 7-0 decision to Old Dominion on Feb. 18.

Barrick, a former member of the University of Virginia’s men’s tennis team, said he was impressed with the level of play.

“There were so many swings [in momentum],” said Barrick. “It’s unfortunate we came out on the wrong side.”

Barrick said he was proud of Aronson’s match.

“He laid it all out there,” said Barrick.

This was the third year a collegiate match has been held at Salisbury. 



Thank you to local junior player, Drew Campbell, for providing the pictures for the article.