In a regional final that was delayed nearly a week, Lynn defeated Barry 5-2 on Sunday to advance to the NCAA Division II Men's Tennis Round of 16.
In the third meeting of the season between the SSC rivals, Lynn rallied from behind without the help of one of its top singles players to defeat Barry and advance to the NCAA finals for the first time in three years.
Despite falling behind 2-1 after doubles, Lynn answered with incredible play throughout its singles lineup.
The Blue & White posted an early lead and the first point of the overall match with an 8-5 win at the top doubles flight. Lynn’s No. 3 team of Willi Wolfer and Vlad Cirla dropped Barry’s No. 9 duo of Marco Mokrzycki and Leo Vivas.
Down 4-1 in the set, Max Kouyate and Amaury Van Haelen, at #2 doubles against the Bucs’ Fabian Groetsch and Daniel Schmidt, rallied and tied things up at 4-4. The match saw a tie again at 6-6 then 7-7 before the Barry team broke the Fighting Knights and totaled a 9-7 win at the second doubles flight to tie the overall match.
The Italian combo of Luca Pavanelli and Alessio Iannozzi found themselves in a close, back-and-forth, contest at #3 doubles versus Romain Costamagna and Ollie Lamaitre. The Lynn tandem amassed a 6-5 advantage with service to Iannozzi. Barry’s team broke Iannozzi and then held to collect a 7-6 tilt. Serving to continue the match, Pavanelli could not hold with number three doubles suffering an 8-6 loss and the Buccaneers taking a 2-1 advantage in the overall match.
After the completion of number three doubles, Pavanelli received a conduct penalty and was pulled from the singles lineup, forcing Lynn’s four through seven singles players to play one position higher in the singles lineup. Playing at one of the highest positions of his career, Ben Kendall, at #3 singles jumped out with a dominant 6-1, 6-2 win over Costamagna to tie the overall match at 2-2.
With two losses already this season to No. 5 Mokrzycki, No. 13 Wolfer rolled to a 6-1 first set win but then fell behind Mokrzycki in set two 4-3. Wolfer broke the dominate serve of Mokrzycki then grabbed a 5-4 tilt. Holding serve, Wolfer closed out his opponent with a 6-1, 7-5 victory and gave the Fighting Knights the 3-2 advantage in the overall match.
In the fifth singles flight, Van Halen cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 win over Vivas and put LU within one point of an overall match victory.
Cirla at #2 singles, Iannozzi at #4 singles, and Kouyate at the sixth singles flight represented the last matches remaining on the courts.
Both Iannozzi and Kouyate suffered first set losses but then came back with a 6-4 win in set two for Iannozzi and a 6-1 second-set win for Kouyate.
At the second singles flight, No. 18 Cirla faced No. 19 Groetsch. Groetsch took a 4-3 advantage in set one before Cirla rallied with a 7-5 first-set win. Cirla pulled out to a 5-3 advantage in the second set with Groetsch serving. Groetsch held serve then broke Cirla to tie the set at 5-5. Cirla could not break his opponent and fell behind 6-5 but gained the next point on serve to send the match to a tiebreaker.
With the thoughts of last season’s ousting by Barry in the 2011 NCAA Regional Tournament in mind, Cirla collected a 7-4 tiebreak win to punch the Fighting Knights’ ticket to Louisville, Ky., and the NCAA Championships. Lynn will face Western New Mexico in the Round of 16 on May 16, at 2 p.m. at EP Tom Sawyer State Park.
APRIL 30 RECAP
Rollins' run in the NCAA Division II Men's Tennis Championship came to an end on Monday, with the sixth-ranked Tars falling to No. 2 West Florida 5-1 in Pensacola. In the other half of the South Region bracket, the tilt between Barry and Lynn was pushed all the way back to Sunday, May 6, after another day of rain in South Florida.
Coming off an emotional win over Saint Leo in the first round Sunday, Rollins ran into a tough start Monday, falling into a 3-0 hole after doubles.
In the top-flight, 10th-ranked Lucas Jovita and Jason Alabaster fell to second-ranked Kevin Ducros and Bruno Savi by a close 8-6 score. Bernardo Barroso and Constantin Sturdza lost to 17th-ranked Leandro Ferreira 8-3 at No. 2, while Ari Davis and Jeff Morris dropped an 8-3 decision to Mike Lue and Domenico Sano at No. 3.
The Tars tallied the first point of singles play as second-ranked Jovita rolled past Ducros 6-0, 6-3 in the top flight.
UWF scored its fourth point in the No. 3 match, with 43rd-ranked Christesen falling to 21st-ranked Andrey Pozhidaev 6-0, 6-2. The Argos then closed things out at No. 6 with Alabaster seeing a 6-4, 6-4 defeat to Sano.
APRIL 29 RECAP
Rollins defeated Saint Leo 5-3 on Sunday in the regional semifinals of the NCAA Division II Men's Tennis Championship in Pensacola. With the win, the Tars advance to face top-seed West Florida in Monday's regional final. The other regional final between Barry and Lynn was pushed back to Monday due to inclement weather.
Rollins took a 2-1 advantage coming out of doubles play. The No. 10 duo of Lucas Jovita and Jason Alabaster defeated No. 8 Matt Nicholson-Lewis and Victor Lozier 8-4. In the third flight, Jeff Morris and Ari Davis staved off Aloua Adjenak and Jake Fleischer 8-6. The Lions' point came at #2, where Jacobo Gonzalez-Tarrio and Antonine Raffaelli defeated Malte Christesen and Constantin Sturdza 8-4.
Saint Leo evened the match score at 2-2 with a 6-3, 6-4 Fleischer win over Sturdza in the #5 slot. Rollins went back in front in the top flight when No. 2 Jovita defeated No. 42 Adjenak 6-4, 6-0. No. 28 Lozier answered the bell for Saint Leo to again knot the score at 3-3, taking down No. 43 Malte Christesen 6-1, 7-5 in the third position.
From there, Rollins would take matches at #2 and #6 to clinch the win and advance. No. 6 Morris beat No. 33 Nicholson-Lewis 6-3, 6-3 and Alabaster came from behind to upend Raffaelli 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the final match of the contest.
APRIL 28 RECAP
Lynn and Barry each won their opening-round NCAA tournament matches on Saturday to set up a regional showdown between the two foes on Sunday. Lynn topped Florida Southern 5-0, while Barry avenged its national championship loss from a year ago, downing Valdosta State 5-1.
Lynn’s top doubles team and third-ranked combo of Willi Wolfer and Vlad Cirla captured the first point of that match with an 8-5 victory over Benoit Paradis and Emanuel Lueber.
Doubles number two concluded next with Amaury Van Haelen and Max Kouyate pulling away with another 8-5 win for the Fighting Knights over Jorge Gutierrez and Carl Lundberg.
Lynn completed the doubles sweep with an 8-2 win at the third doubles flight. The Blue & White’s Italian tandem of Luca Pavanelli and Alessio Iannozzi dropped Nathan Leavitt and Charles Garneau to take the 3-0 lead into singles play.
Wolfer put the Fighting Knights within one point of advancement. He rolled to a 6-0 win in set one, and then closed things out with a 6-1 victory in set two to put the Knights on top 4-0 in the overall match over the Mocs.
Minutes after Wolfer’s finish, Van Haelen at number six singles posted a pair of 6-2 set wins to defeat Charles Garneau and clinch the match for Lynn.
In the other match at Lynn's Perper Tennis Complex, Barry, ranked No. 3 in the nation, won the No. 2 doubles flight when Daniel Schmidt and Fabian Groetsch beat Tammo Haake and Sebastian Jasyk 8-5. After dropping the No. 3 pairs match, Barry went ahead 2-1 in the match, as 13th-ranked Leo Vivas and Marco Mokrzycki beat Christian Hansen and Niklas Herbring 9-8 (7-2) at the top doubles flight.
Schmidt, who's been playing some of his best tennis of late, gave the Buccaneers their first singles win when he dispatched Santiago Vidales 6-1, 6-4 at No. 4 singles.
Ollie Lemaitre beat Sebastian Jasyk 6-1, 6-2 at No. 6 to pull the Bucs within a point of moving on. Frenchman Romain Costamagna wrapped up the victory with a 6-3, 6-2 No. 3 singles win over Herbring.
The Knights and Bucs will square off at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Lynn's Peper Tennis Complex. Live stats are available at the following link. The Bucs and Knights split their matches this season.
South Region Men's Tennis - Hosted by Lynn University
Saturday, April 28
10 a.m. - Lynn 5, Fla. Southern 0
2 p.m. - Barry 5, Valdosta St. 1
Sunday, May 6
1 p.m. - Lynn 5, Barry 2
South Region Men's Tennis - Hosted by the University of West Florida
Saturday, April 28
10 a.m. - West Alabama 5, Fort Valley 0
Sunday, April 29
10 a.m. - West Florida 5, West Alabama 0
1 p.m. - Rollins 5, Saint Leo 3
Monday, April 30
3 p.m. - West Florida 5, Rollins 1