CHARLESTON, S.C. - Sophomore Crescente Lesser (Santiago, Chile) won his first-set tiebreaker and served out his match with a love game to send the top-seeded College of Charleston men's tennis team to a 4-0 shutout of eighth-seeded Chattanooga in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Southern Conference Tennis Championships on Friday afternoon at the CofC Tennis Center at Patriots Point.
The Cougars (16-4) move on to tomorrow's semifinals and will meet either fourth-seeded UNCG or fifth-seeded Furman at 8:30 a.m. (ET). The win ends the season for the Mocs (14-9), who lost a close 5-2 decision versus CofC in both team's regular-season meeting on March 25.
Lesser defeated Chattanooga's Ankit Chopra, 7-6 (4), 6-4, in the match clincher at No. 4 singles. He was preceded by straight-set victories from junior Kyle Parker (Richmond, Va.) with a love first set over Chris Smith, 6-0, 6-2, at No. 3, and senior Tom Delme (Hamoir, Belgium) fighting off Manuel Barroetavena, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 2, to continue CofC's postseason run.
"We took the lead in a bunch of first sets which really set us up to dictate points and relax a little bit in the match," said 2012 SoCon Men's Tennis Coach of the Year Jay Bruner. "Where we got our four points today - Tom, Crescente and Kyle all just took care of their business. It was a great way to start the tournament, and hopefully, we will be fresh going into tomorrow's semis."
The Cougars gained momentum early on the Mocs after Tom Delme and junior Billy Kenny (Pawley's Island, S.C.) as well as junior Stephen Hardy (Fairfax, Va.) and freshman Alon Faiman (Ramat Hasharon, Israel) won a pair of 8-4 pro-sets at the No. 2 and No. 3 lines to claim the doubles point and 1-0 edge.
"I thought the doubles was really key for our momentum today," Bruner said. "Not having played in a few days and not playing yesterday, sometimes the team who is playing the round before has a little bit more of a rhythm coming into the match. We really had to get off to a good start and I thought we did that and played exceptionally well at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles which gave us momentum going into the singles."
CofC, who shared its third-consecutive SoCon regular-season championship title with second-seeded Samford, has now won nine of its last 10 matches.
#1 COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON 4, #8 CHATTANOOGA 0
2012 SoCon Men's Tennis Championship - Quarterfinals
April 20, 2012
CofC Tennis Center
at Charleston, S.C.
No. 1 - Mickael Trintignac (CofC) vs. Roberto Vieira (UTC), 7-6, 1-0, DNF.
No. 2 - Tom Delme (CofC) def. M. Barroetavena (UTC), 6-3, 6-4.
No. 3 - Kyle Parker (CofC) def. Chris Smith (UTC), 6-0, 6-2.
No. 4 - Crescente Lesser (CofC) def. Ankit Chopra (UTC), 7-6 (4), 6-4.
No. 5 - Alon Faiman (CofC) vs. Jackson Tresnan (UTC), 6-1, 2-6, 2-2, DNF.
No. 6 - Billy Kenny (CofC) vs. Pavels Grigorjevs (UTC), 4-6, 6-4, 4-1, DNF.
No. 1 - (66) Mickael Trintignac-Kyle Parker (CofC) vs. Roberto Vieira-Chris Smith (UTC), 6-7, DNF.
No. 2 - Tom Delme-Billy Kenny (CofC) def. M. Barroetavena-Jackson Tresnan (UTC), 8-4.
No. 3 - Stephen Hardy-Alon Faiman (CofC) def. Ankit Chopra-Stephen Crofford (UTC), 8-4.
ORDER OF FINISH
Doubles: 2, 3
Singles: 3, 2, 4*