2014 NAIA Men's Tennis National Championship First Round Recap
By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern
MOBILE, Ala. — (Results | Bracket) The 2014 NAIA Men’s Tennis National Championship got underway at 1:30 p.m. CDT Tuesday with eight concurrent matches covering 48 courts at the Mobile Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala. Two teams, Graceland (Iowa) and Northwestern Ohio, recorded 9-0 sweeps, while three additional teams added 8-1 victories.
Graceland soundly defeated an injury-laden Bethel (Tenn.) squad, with the closest match in the 9-0 rout ending 6-2, 6-2 at No. 2 singles. Northwestern Ohio had its toughest match against IU Southeast (Ind.) at No. 3 doubles, pulling out an 8-6 win, before winning handedly at all six singles positions to secure a 9-0 sweep.
Xavier (La.), Concordia (Calif.) and Bethany (Kan.) bested their respective opponents: Hastings (Neb.), Mobile (Ala.) and Marian (Ind.), 8-1. Xavier’s lone loss came at No. 5 singles, where Kevin Chaouat retired due to injury. Concordia lost a hard-fought match at No. 3 doubles, 9-8, to Mobile’s duo of Lars Bannink and Santiago Quiros, while Bethany dropped its match at No. 2 doubles, 8-6, to Marian’s tandem of Danny Albert and Mitchell Trammell.
The Mariners of Coastal Georgia played the most competitive match of the first round, battling to a 5-4 victory over Olivet Nazarene (Ill.). After getting swept in doubles play by the Tigers, the Mariners responded, winning at 5-of-6 singles positions. In the decisive match, Mahlar Mali overcame Landon Williams of Olivet Nazarene for a three-set win (6-2, 1-6, 6-4) at No. 4 singles.
In the lone upset of the first round, SCAD Atlanta grabbed a 2-1 lead over William Carey in doubles play and never looked back, cruising to a 7-2 win by prevailing at Nos. 2-6 in singles. Two of the Bees three doubles wins were by an 8-6 margin, while two of SCAD Atlanta’s five singles victories required three sets.
The wins for Coastal Georgia and SCAD Atlanta are the first-ever at the national championship for either program.
Aquinas also found a competitive first round matchup in Webber International (Fla.) and owes its victory to the play of its No. 3 doubles pairing of Fisher Sutherland and Frankie Fischer, who accounted for three of the Saints’ six points. The duo put the Saints up 2-1 heading into singles play, with a little help from the No. 1 doubles grouping of Aaron Hendrick and Nik Artaev. Then, Sutherland—6-2, 6-3 at No. 4—and Fischer—6-3, 6-3 at No. 5—brought home singles victories to help the Saints advance with a 6-3 win.
The top eight seeds, which receive first round byes in the national championship, will compete against Tuesday’s winners in second round play, beginning at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday.
NeuLion, the official video streaming company of select NAIA National Championship events, will be broadcasting the national championship match from Mobile on Saturday, May 17. For more information on the free live video stream and to pre-register, click here.