MOBILE, Ala. – The third-ranked Vanguard men preserved their perfect 23-0 record on Wednesday morning at the Mobile Tennis Center, defeating No. 19 Warner (Fla.), 5-1, in the second round of the 2013 NAIA Men's Tennis National Championship Tournament. With the win, the Lions proceed to the national quarterfinal, where Vanguard will take on No. 6 Xavier (La.) (15-7).
The Blue and Gold's third duo of Daymon Johnson and Yagor Kryvaruchka posted the matches' first point with an 8-4 takedown of WU's Juan Espinol and Diogo Barros. Shortly after the third match-up wrapped, Vanguard's second pair followed suit with an 8-4 win of their own as Lukas Larsson and Robin Wagner bested the Royal's Vito Schepper and Akharis Sa-ardphanch to put Vanguard up 2-0.
There was a showdown at first doubles as Stefan Kilchhofer and Roger Muri struggled to find a rhythm early in their pairing against Warner's Julian Ramirez and Patrick Franji. Warner led at the midway point but Kilchhofer and Muri tied the match late to force a tiebreaker. In the end, Muri and Kilchhofer persevered to claim the win 9-8 (7-5).
ITA Rookie of the Year Kilchhofer did not mess around in his No. 1 singles' pairing with Ramirez. Kilchhofer quickly disposed of his opponent 6-1, 6-1 to bring Vanguard within a point of victory in the match.
The Lions' final point of the day was earned by Johnson, who sealed the win for Vanguard with his imposing 6-0, 6-2 win over WU's Sa-ardphanch.
"Our doubles play could be much better," head coach Mattias Johansson said. "It was our first match in a while, so it was to be expected, but I thought that we looked a little slow. Teams that get a first round bye often run into this situation. Warner played a match yesterday, so I thought that they came out strong, but at the end of the day, we got it done. I am happy and pleased with our guys and of course, DJ was once again the one who clinched the victory."
Xavier (La.) is the next hurdle for the Pride men. The Xavier Gold Nuggets also had a first round bye. With just five players, they defeated Belhaven (Miss.) 5-3 on Wednesday in the second round of the NAIA tournament.
The Lions' quarterfinal match is scheduled for Thursday, May 16th at 7:00 am (PST).
"The guys know that they need to play better in the quarterfinal," Johansson said. "Xavier is a top-heavy team. Their number one through four players are very strong. They know how to play under pressure because they only have five players and essentially begin every match down 2-0. We will see what happens. We definitely need to step up our doubles play tomorrow."
Fellow GSAC institution Concordia (Calif.) was eliminated from the tournament following a 7-0 second round loss to Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) Westmont advanced to the semi-final with a 5-1 win over William Carey (Miss.) and will face Aquinas (Mich.) on Thursday.