ELON, North Carolina – Top-seeded UNCW advanced to the Colonial Athletic Association Men’s Tennis Championship finals for the seventh time by holding off No. 4 seeded College of Charleston, 4-2, in semifinal action late Saturday at Elon’s Jimmy Powell Tennis Center.
The Seahawks hiked their record to 13-8 and avenged a 4-3 loss to the Cougars in last year’s CAA Championship match. Coach Mait DuBois and his club will be seeking its fifth CAA title in ninth years early Sunday when the Seahawks take on No. 3-seeded William & Mary, a 4-1 winner over Elon in the day’s other semifinal.
Charleston, meanwhile, closed out its season with a 14-8 mark.
The win gave UNCW representation in both CAA championship matches after the women stunned No. 2 Elon earlier in the day. The last time both clubs advanced to the finals was in 2014 when UNCW swept the league’s tennis hardware.
In Saturday’s first semifinal, the Seahawks notched the critical doubles point and led, 3-2, with two three-set singles matches on the court.
Freshman Daniel Groom then outlasted CofC’s Fernando Ramirez Lascurian, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, at No. 5 singles to send the Seahawks back to the CAA finals for the second straight year.
In doubles, the teams split matches at the No. 1 and No. 2 positions before UNCW’s Gabe Hocevar and Michael Copeland decided the early point with a 7-6 (3) triumph over CofC’s Benedikt Henning and Vasily Kichigan at No. 3 doubles.
Copeland hiked the lead to 2-0 at No. 6 singles by beating Alec Angradi, 6-3, 6-2, and freshman Raphael Calzi knocked off Rodrigo Encinas, 6-1, 6-4, at the No. 4 slot to pad the margin to 3-0.
Charleston mounted a brief comeback with a victories at No. 1 and No. 2 singles before Groom improved to 11-5 this spring with his clutch three-setter against Lascurian.
The Seahawks will meet the Tribe at 10 a.m. on Sunday in the CAA Championship match, with the winner earning the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
#1 UNCW 4, #4 College of Charleston 2
April 22, 2017 | Jimmy Powell Tennis Center | Elon, N.C.
1. Juan Estevarena (COFC) def. Andres Torres (UNCW), 6-4, 6-4
2. Bendikt Henning (COFC) def. Agustin Savarino (UNCW), 7-5, 6-2
3. Ignasi de Rueda (UNCW) vs. Vasily Kichigin (COFC), 6-7, 6-3, 2-0, unfinished
4. Raphael Calzi (UNCW) def. Rodrigo Encinas (COFC), 6-1, 6-4
5. Daniel Groom (UNCW) def. F. Ramirez Lascurian (COFC), 7-5, 4-6, 6-4
6. Michael Copeland (UNCW) def. Alec Angradi (COFC), 6-3, 6-2
1. Juan Estevarena/Rodrigo Encinas (COFC) def. Agustin Savarino/Ignasi de Rueda (UNCW), 6-3
2. Michael Morphy/Andres Torres (UNCW) def. Alec Angradi/F. Ramirez Lascurian (COFC), 6-1
3. Michael Copeland/Gabe Hocevar (UNCW) def. Bendikt Henning/Vasily Kichigin (COFC), 7-6 (7-3)
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (6,4,1,2,5)