SUMTER, S.C. – It was a highly successful trip for McPherson College’s Rafael Bulnes and Joan-Marc Rodriguez, as they competed in the 2014 USA/ITA National Small College Tennis Championships this past week.
They combined to place fourth in doubles, while Bulnes took sixth place in singles. This was a tournament where only those who qualified through an earlier tournament could compete.
Bulnes lost in the first round 6-3, 6-3 but then won his second match 0-6, 6-4, 6-2 against Westmont College before falling 6-4, 6-1 to a previously ranked No. 1 singles player from Auburn Montgomery. Bulnes was one of three players who competed in both doubles and singles.
The doubles team won its opening-round match and then in the semifinals they lost in a close three-set match. The team then lost 6-3, 6-1 in the third-place match.
This was the first time in school history McPherson College has had anybody make it to the ITA national tournament.
"Rafa and Joan Marc performed well at the tournament," Mac coach Justin Stuckey said. "There are no bad losses in when every one of your opponents is ranked in the Top 8 in the country for doubles or singles.
"In doubles, they were a couple of games away in their semifinal match from being in the championships. For this being our first time in the tournament, I was very pleased. We now know the level we will have to play at to make it to the championship match and beyond."
Mac is now done for the fall season.