Men's Tennis Draws Chowan in NCAA Regional Tournament

Men's Tennis Draws Chowan in NCAA Regional Tournament

INDIANAPOLIS -- Two teams will represent the Mountain East Conference in the NCAA Division II Men's Tennis Tournament this week.

West Virginia Wesleyan is the No. 4 seed and will play No. 5 Chowan on Sunday, May 8 at 11 a.m. in the Atlantic 1 Regional.

That match will take place at Bluefield, W. Va.

The winner of that match will get top-seeded Bluefield State on Monday, May 9 at 1 p.m.

Wesleyan is 19-5 on the season after taking runner-up honors in last week's MEC Tournament. They were the regular-season MEC champions.

This is the 10th consecutive year Wesleyan has eanred a bid into the NCAA Regional Tournament. 

Chowan clinched the 2016 CIAA Championship title with a 5-2 win over Shaw.  The Hawks have emerged as CIAA Champions in two of the past three seasons and carry a 25-5 overall record into post-season play.

Wesleyan and Chowan met in the regular season on March 4 in Raleigh, N. C.

Wesleyan earned a hard-fought 6-3 decision.

The Bobcats won all three doubles matches that day and then battled to an even 3-3 score in singles competition with Ramon Rodriguez, Ferran Berga and Timothy Stephens winning at No. 3, 4 and 6 respectively.

Wesleyan's No. 1 individual player Nathan Sabate remarked about the previous clash with Chowan, "It was a battle in singles. What really gave us a mental edge was sweeping them in doubles. Getting that advantage at the start of singles play made it much harder for them every time we were getting a victory in singles.

"Not only doubles but the lower spots in singles were the key to the match, we were able to win #3, #4 and #6. However, Chowan deserved credit for staying tough in that adverse situation. Even with the mental pressure all the Chowan guys were going through, they handled it pretty well and were able to take three singles points from us."

Sabate expects another tough outing with Chowan in the rematch.

"We need to get a good start in doubles to make sure they feel the same pressure as last time and we need to be ready for yet another battle in singles," Sabate said. "We are very optimistic towards this match but we will realize that we need to keep our feet on the ground and work hard to get the victory.

"Chowan is definitely a very tough match. Those guys can play from top to bottom, especially in the first two top spots. I would say they are slightly stronger than us in those first two spots. Playing for Chowan at No. 1 is Farid Hajizada who is ranked No. 5 in regional individual ranking and for the No. 2 spot, they have a player who is ranked #10.

"Considering that I am ranked No. 13 and Jacobo Rendon, our number two is No. 14, if we can get a victory there it would be a key win for us. Even though we are well aware of the difficulty, Jacobo and I are confident we will be able to do some damage there."

The MEC's West Liberty earned the No. 3 seed and will take on No. 6 Mercyhurst in the opening round on Sunday, May 8. The winner will take on second-seeded Edinboro on Monday, May 9.

Click here for the Atlantic 1 Regional Bracket.

 

Atlantic Region:

SCHOOL

RECORD

Bluefield St.

17-2

Edinboro (Automatic Qualifier)

22-3

West Liberty (Automatic Qualifier)

17-5

West. Va. Wesleyan

19-5

Chowan (Automatic Qualifier)

20-6

Mercyhurst

10-8