MOBILE, Ala. – After horrendous weather delayed the start of Vanguard's NAIA Men's Tennis National Championship Second Round contest nearly 24 hours, The Pride mentally and physically composed itself to register a dominant 5-0 victory over SCAD Atlanta on Thursday morning.
Vanguard quickly wrapped up three doubles points to jump out to a big lead in the first-to-five match. Filip Burnac (SO/Luzern, Switzerland) and Daymon Johnson (SO/Bakersfield, CA) scored a decisive 8-2 win at No. 3 pairs to begin the day, and were followed by teammates Roger Muri (JR/Zurich, Switzerland) and Stefan Kilchhofer (SO/Basel, Switzerland) who bested their No. 1 counterparts 8-4. Not long after, Miguel Saiz Perez (JR/Madrid, Spain) and Justin Seller (JR/Gold Coast, Australia) took down SCAD's Chandler Saunders and Alex Maeda, also by a final of 8-4, at number twos.
The Lions garnered swift victories at No. 1 (6-3, 6-4) and No. 6 to seal a berth into the next round. Michael Rjazanov (SO/Berlin, Germany) was the first Blue and Gold player to secure a point, defeating Kyle Craig 6-1, 6-1 in the sixth slot, and Kilchhofer ended the match with his 6-3, 6-4 win in the top pairing.
"We played very well in doubles this morning to set the tone early on," head coach Mattias Johansson said. "We needed a short match in order to get an hour of extra rest, which could be the difference in winning our next match which will occur in just a few hours. My two undefeated players sealed the deal at number one and number six, which was awesome to see."
The Lions will play in the quarterfinal for a chance to appear in the national semifinal for the second consecutive season. In order to do so, however, Vanguard will have to play two grueling matches on the same day, as the round of eight is scheduled for 5:00 pm (CDT) on Thursday.
With the win, Vanguard improves to 19-4 overall. The Pride has not lost to an NAIA opponent in 2014.
SCAD Atlanta is eliminated with the loss. The Bees' first round win was their first national championship victory in the team's first-ever national championship appearance.
The national championship quarterfinals will feature No. 1 Embry-Riddle (Fla.), No. 2 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.), No. 3 Georgia Gwinnett, No. 4 Vanguard (Calif.), No. 5 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), No. 6 Cumberland (Tenn.), Bethany (Kan.) and Xavier (La.).
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.