By Travis Rae, Communications and Sports Information Intern
MOBILE, Ala. – (Scores) (Bracket) The NAIA Men’s Tennis National Championship got underway Tuesday Morning with eight matches taking place at the Mobile Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala. Three of the eight matches were won 9-0 winners will meet the top eight seeds who received a bye into the second round.
Northwestern Ohio defeated Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), 7-2, in the first round of the national championship. Lewis-Clark State took No. 1 doubles, 8-3, but did not get another win in doubles. Northwestern Ohio came away with some hard fought singles wins, to win the match 7-2. Northwestern Ohio advances to play one-seed Embry-Riddle (Fla.) tomorrow.
Concordia (Calif.) jumped out to an early 3-0 lead over Doane (Neb.) after winning all three doubles matches. The Eagles won No. 1 and 3 doubles, 8-3. Micah Groom and Patrick Szeremeta of Concordia defeated Sabastia Gardefjord and Dylan Ramey, 8-5, in No. 2 doubles. Concordia kept the pressure on in singles as the Eagles won every singles match and took the match, 9-0, over Doane. Concordia advances to play eighth-seed Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) tomorrow at 9 a.m.
Aquinas improved its record to 24-4 on the season with a 9-0 win over Asbury (Ky.) in the first round of the national championship. Aquinas raced out to the early lead and never look back winning all the three doubles and then sweeping singles to win 9-0. Aquinas will face Bethany (Kan.) in the second round.
In the closest match of the day, William Carey (Miss.) ousted Olivet Nazarene (Ill.), 5-4. William Carey held a 2-1 lead after taking 2-of-3 doubles. Olivet Nazarene bounced back in singles and the Tigers had it tied up 4-4 with one match to go. The match came down to No. 2 singles between Marthinius Visser of William Carey and Diego Gonsalvez of Olivet Nazarene. The first set went to Gonsalvez, 7-6 (7-5). Visser took set two, 7-6 (7-4), before coming away with a 6-2 win in set three to claim the victory for William Carey. William Carey advances to playfour-seed Westmont (Calif.) in round two.
Warner (Fla.) came away with a 6-3 victory over Oklahoma Baptist in round one and now move on to face No. 3 Vanguard (Calif.). In a hard fought No. 1 doubles match, Warner came away with a 9-7 win. The Royals also came away with an 8-5 win in No. 3 doubles. Oklahoma Baptist tried to mount a comeback in singles as they won No. 1 and 3 but it was not enough as Warner won, 6-3.
After losing in No. 1 doubles to start the match, Belhaven (Miss.) bounced back to win seven of the next 8 matches and defeat Spring Arbor (Mich.), 7-2. David Darling of Spring Arbor was the only singles player to win as he defeated Nikita Lisov, 4-6, 7-5, 14-12. Belhaven advances to play No. 6 Xavier (La.) tomorrow at 9 a.m. in the second round.
Cumberland (Tenn.) won its 18th match of the season after defeating Mobile (Ala.), 9-0. Cumberland took No. 1 and 3 doubles, 8-3 and No. 2 doubles, 8-4. Cumberland continued to dominate in singles, and defeated Mobile, 9-0. Cumberland will face Bethel (Tenn.), who is the seventh seeded team, in the second round tomorrow.
Graceland (Iowa) won its first round matchup against Northwood (Fla.), 7-2. Graceland raced out to a 2-1 start by taking No. 2 and 3 doubles and did not let Northwood get anything going in singles. The lone bright spot for Northwood was Alvarro Ituriagga, who was involved in both points for the Seahawks. Graceland won Nos. 2-6 singles to take the match and advance to face second-seed Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) in the second round.
All eight teams that received first-round byes will be in action as the men’s championships resume at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
NeuLion, the NAIA’s official video-streaming company of 18 select NAIA national championship events, will be broadcasting the championship match on May 18. Streaming of the championship match will be free. For more information and to pre-register, click here.