Indian Wells, CA - After beating fifth seeded Lewis-Clark State 5-1 on Wednesday, top seeded Arizona Christian advanced to their first GSAC Men's Tennis Final. Sophomore Scott Wheeler was the only Firestorm to record a win in two matches.
Starting with doubles, the first two matches went in favor of the Firestorm (15-11). Sophomore Enzo Douillac paired with Senior Ezequiel Suarez for the 8-1 win on doubles court two to begin the match. Court three also saw ACU handle business easily with the 8-3 win by Wheeler and Junior Luka Stanivukovic. But the action on court one was tight throughout. After holding leads early on, one bad game by Sophomore Alberto Lapiedra and Senior Seth Moore turned the tide in favor of the Warriors (2-12, LCSC played primarily against NCAA DI foes all year) and they held on for the 8-6 win.
With a 2-1 lead headed into singles, Arizona Christian needed just three wins to advance to the GSAC championship match.
Moore rose to the challenge and quickly won 6-2 and 6-2 on court six.
Not wanting to be left behind by his doubles partner Moore, Lapiedra rolled 6-3 and 6-4 on court one.
In race to have their morning of work count, Wheeler, Suarez, and Junior Marcelo Balderrama attempted to all close out the match. Wheeler used a pair of 6-2 results on court five to create the team victory. Balderrama was leading 6-2 and 4-0 on court four and Suarez was ahead 6-3, 4-3 on court three but both matches went down as unfinished thanks to Wheeler's win.
On court two, Douillac dropped the first set 6-2 but responded with a 6-1 second set win. However, Douillac and LCSC's Ignacio Salom had just started their third set when Wheeler clinched the match. So the court two match went into the books as unfinished as well.
Head Coach Chris Tolson stated, "The guys came out and played solid all day. We did not play our best tennis of the year- fighting a bit of nerves through doubles. It was good to see though when we got that 2-1 lead heading into singles. They relaxed a bit and dominated most all of the singles matches. I am so happy for the guys and look forward to playing in our first GSAC Conference final! "
On Thursday, the Firestorm will face-off with second seed Westmont for the GSAC Tournament Championship and automatic bid into the NAIA National Championship. The teams will square off at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden at 9:00 am.