ELON, N.C. – In a rematch of last year’s Southern Conference Tournament finals, the third-seeded College of Charleston men’s tennis team fell short of second-seeded Samford, 4-1, in semifinal action held on Saturday afternoon at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center.
The Cougars, who made their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003 a year ago, finished the season at 13-9 overall, while the Bulldogs raised their record to 14-9.
“It was unfortunate we finished the way we did today,” CofC Head Coach Jay Bruner said. “It was a match we could have won to keep our run going. Samford has had a good team the last three years. We played them last year in the finals and knew it would be a tough one today. They were well prepared for the match and wanted it a little more than we did.”
Samford opened the match with doubles victories at the No. 2 and No. 3 lines. Fares Kilani and Alex Sajonz defeated sophomore Alon Faiman (Ramat Hasharon, Israel) and freshman Zack Lewis (Richmond, Ky.), 8-3, at the No. 3 position. Austin Akers and Garrison Laduca later held off sophomore Sebastian Lopez (Medellin, Colombia) and junior Crescente Lesser (Santiago, Chile) in a tight battle at No. 2 doubles, 9-7.
In singles competition, the Cougars quickly tied the match at one-all with a 6-4, 6-2 straight-set victory courtesy of Alon Faiman over Garrison Laduca at the No. 6 line. It would be CofC’s lone point of the match.
The Bulldogs responded by winning the next three consecutive singles matches to seal the victory and move on to tomorrow’s finals versus top-seeded and host Elon. Austin Akers defeated Zack Lewis in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3, at No. 5 singles to give Samford the 2-1 edge in the match.
Fares Kilani followed it up with a 6-2, 6-2 decision over Crescente Lesser at No. 3 singles, before Alex Sajonz’s win over sophomore Charlie Ghriskey (Mount Kisco, N.Y.), 7-6, 6-2, at the No. 4 position.
“I am really proud of the team this year,” Bruner said. “They learned a lot of lessons this year and put a lot heart and energy into our last matches of the season. We learned a lot about ourselves and what we are capable of doing as a team. We had four new players in this year’s lineup and were still able to finish second in the league in the regular season and undefeated at home. I am very happy in the way that we grew during the season and look forward to next year.”
SAMFORD 4, COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON 1
Southern Conference Men’s Tennis Championship Semifinals
April 20, 2013
Jimmy Powell Tennis Center
at Elon, N.C.
No. 1 – Zac Dunkle (Samford) vs. Brice Allanic (CofC), 4-6, 6-2, 2-1 DNF.
No. 2 – Elliot Barnwell (Samford) vs. Sebastian Lopez (CofC), 6-7 (7), 0-4 DNF.
No. 3 – Fares Kilani (Samford) def. Crescente Lesser (CofC), 6-2, 6-2.
No. 4 – Alex Sajonz (Samford) def. Charlie Ghriskey (CofC), 7-6 (2), 6-2.
No. 5 – Austin Akers (Samford) def. Zack Lewis (CofC), 6-1, 6-3.
No. 6 – Alon Faiman (CofC) def. Garrison Laduca (Samford), 6-4, 6-2.
No. 1 – Zac Dunkle-Elliot Barnwell (Samford) vs. Brice Allanic-Charlie Ghriskey (CofC), 8-8 DNF.
No. 2 – Austin Akers-Garrison Laduca (Samford) def. Sebastian Lopez-Crescente Lesser (CofC), 9-7.
No. 3 – Fares Kilani-Alex Sajonz (Samford) def. Alon Faiman-Zack Lewis (CofC), 8-3.
ORDER OF FINISH
Doubles: 3, 2
Singles: 6, 5, 3, 4*