Fresno Pacific Wins Second National Championship
MOBILE, Ala. - (Bracket) Top-seeded Fresno Pacific (Calif.) defeated No. 2-seed Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 5-1 in the 2011 NAIA Men's Tennis National Championship Finals Saturday to pick up the program's second national title and put a halt to Embry-Riddle’s run at the 60th annual event.
The Sunbirds (25-2, 14-0 Golden State Athletic Conference) came out firing from all cylinders and took early leads in each of the doubles matches. FPU’s No. 3 doubles pair of Amarit Sanchez and Nathan Martinet started off the day with an 8-3 win over Peter Francis and Simon Felix. At No. 1 doubles, Xavier Smith and Kirill Sinitsyn of Fresno Pacific jumped out to a 6-2 advantage in No. 1 doubles before ERAU’s Chris Freeman and Jan Hoekzema answered with three-straight games to bring it to 6-5. The Sunbird duo held off the Eagles and locked up the team’s second match with an 8-6 victory. In the No. 2 doubles match, Embry-Riddle’s Patrick Besch and Adrian Bayh climbed back from a 6-3 deficit and forced a tiebreaker. With the momentum in their favor, the Eagles closed out the match winning 9-8 (2).
Up 2-1 heading into singles play, Fresno Pacific needed just three wins to capture the title. The Sunbirds depth shined as Jaime Canamares won No. 6 singles with a score of 6-1, 6-2, followed by a 6-3, 6-4 win by Martinet at No. 4 singles. The clincher came at No. 3 singles where Cledson Carvalho sealed the deal with a 6-4, 6-2 victory.
The Sunbirds, who were ranked No. 1 in the NAIA Men’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll the entire season, improved its National Championship record to 16-4 with the win. Embry-Riddle finishes the season with a 17-7 overall record.
Fresno Pacific head coach Neil Castro guided the Sunbirds to their second overall national championship and was named the 2011 NAIA National Coach of the Year.
Embry-Riddle’s No. 1 singles player Chris Freeman was given the Ward-Ballinger Award, which is presented to the individual at the tournament who exhibited outstanding play, leadership and sportsmanship.
Finals Match: Fresno Pacific (Calif.) def. Embry-Riddle (Fla.), 5-1
No. 1 - Xavier Smith (FPU) vs. Chris Freeman (ERAU), 6-4, 5-6 (unfinished)
No. 2 - Kirill Sinitsyn (FPU) vs. Jan Hoekzema (ERAU), 6-4, 4-2 (unfinished)
No. 3 - Cledson Carvalho (FPU) def. Patrick Besch (ERAU), 6-4, 6-2
No. 4 - Nathan Martinet (FPU) def. Peter Francis (ERAU), 6-3, 6-4
No. 5 - Amarit Sanchez (FPU) vs. Simon Felix (ERAU), 5-7, 4-4 (unfinished)
No. 6 - Jaime Canamares (FPU) def. David Spennare, 6-1, 6-2
No. 1 - Xavier Smith/Kirill Sinitsyn (FPU) def. Chris Freeman/Jan Hoekzema (ERAU), 8-6
No. 2 - Patrick Besch/Adrian Bayh (ERAU) def. Cledson Carvalho/Jaime Canamares (FPU), 9-8 (2)
No. 3 - Amarit Sanchez/Nathan Martinet (FPU) def. Peter Francis/Simon Felix (ERAU), 8-3