The No. 11 Concordia men's tennis squad is moving onto the NAIA National Championship Second Round for the seventh-straight season and seventh time in program history, after defeating the host school Mobile (AL) 8-1 in the first round on Tuesday, May 13 at the Mobile Tennis Center.
Concordia took two-of-the-three doubles matches. Christian Wickenhauser (JR/Stuttgart, Germany) and Jan Guler (SR/Immensee, Switzerland) won 8-1 over Marcio Dal Point and Nick Van Amerom in the top spot. Severin Diemand (FR/Mumliswil, Switzerland) and Kaimalu Cope (JR/Captain Cook, HI) won 9-8 in a tight one over Karlis Stonis and Guilherme Pansera in the #2 spot. Mobile won the #3 doubles match, their lone point.
All-GSAC selection Wickenhauser won 6-4, 7-6 over Cesar Paleari in the number one singles match. Fellow All-GSAC nod Guler won 6-3, 2-6, 10-4 over Dal Point at #2 singles. All-GSAC choice Moritz Pronath (SO/Heilsbronn, Germany) won 7-5, 6-1 over Amerom in #3 singles and Diemand won 6-1, 6-4 over Lars Bannick in the four spot. Cope won 6-4, 6-4 in #5 singles and Hayden Hensley (FR/Temecula, CA) was victorious 6-2, 6-2 over Santiago Quiros in #6 singles.
"We were caught a little off guard by how good Mobile was," Concordia head coach Jonathan Sanchez said. "It was huge to enter singles with a lead from doubles, and we started singles strong. Winning the close doubles matches really fueled us to this win."
Concordia improved to 12-10 and 7-6 in national championship action all-time. They advance to face #6 Cumberland (TN) on Wednesday, May 14, in the second round at 11 am.
"Cumberland will be tough," Sanchez said. "They have a lot of grinders and make you play a lot of balls."
(Bracket) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially released the bracket for the 63rd Annual NAIA Men's Tennis National Championship. For the 11th-straight year, the 24-team, single-elimination national championship will take place from May 13-17 at the Mobile Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala.
The field consists of 13 automatic berths, 10 at-large selections and one host berth. Automatic qualification is given to conference and unaffiliated grouping tournament champions. At-large teams were determined using the final regular-season Coaches' Top 25 Poll released earlier today. Mobile (Ala.) received the host berth.
Concordia men's tennis assistant coach Bruno Santarelli, who was already selected ITA NAIA West Region Assistant Coach of the Year, was selected ITA NAIA Assistant Coach of the Year for the nation on Tuesday. He is the first Eagle coach to win either award. From the ITA release:
The 2014 ITA Assistant Coach of the Year, helped the Concordia University, Irvine team to great successes this season in his first year as an assistant coach. With Santarelli's assistance, the Eagles beat a Top 5 nationally ranked team and reached the finals of the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament. He is hard working, well-respected and humble and is a great example of sportsmanship and conduct to his players. Santarelli works with No Limitz Tennis - Talk about Curing Autism) on a weekly basis and is a great role model for the team.
"Bruno is very deserving of this award," Sanchez said. "We would not have had the success we did this year without him."