NCAA Men's Tennis: Patriots Rally Late to Beat Saints in NCAA Tournament
SAVANNAH, GA – Senior Dilshod Sharifi closed out a
four-hour, 53-minute marathon match with a three-set singles win to
carry 13th-ranked Francis Marion University to a 5-4
come-from-behind win over 15th-ranked Flagler College, Friday
afternoon (May 7) in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II
Southeast Regional Men’s Tennis Tournament in Savannah,
The Patriots improve to 12-7 and advance to face second-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University in the regional final on Saturday at 10 a.m. The 28-1 Pirates beat 24th-ranked Lees-McRae College 5-0 on Friday morning. The winner of Saturday's region final advances to the Division II Men's Tennis Championships Round of 16 in Altamonte Springs, Fla., on May 12-15.
Flagler ends its season 14-9, with three of the losses coming at the hands of the Patriots. This marks the fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament that Francis Marion has won its opening match.
Trailing 4-2, Francis Marion got three-set singles wins from the veteran trio of Sharifi, Oshada Wijemanne, and Karl Rogers.
Rogers notched a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Tim Hansson at No. 5 singles to bring FMU to within 4-3. Wijemanne, ranked 13th nationally, then beat Harry Snoxell 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, at No. 2 singles to even the match at 4-4.
All eyes then turned to the completion of the third set at No. 1 singles where Sharifi, ranked second nationally, and 10th-ranked David Cotrone played for the right for their team to advance. After Sharifi had won the opening set 7-6 in a tiebreaker, Cotrone forced a third set by winning 7-5. Sharifi gained an early break in the third set and went on to win 6-2.
Flagler claimed two of the three doubles matches to take an early 2-1 advantage. Only the Patriot duo of Alex Caspari and Rogers were victorious at the No.3 spot.
Francis Marion won the first set in four of the six singles matches to open up the opportunity for the comeback. A quick win by Jack Bishop, 6-2, 6-2 over Mason Addison, at No. 6 singles drew the match even at 2-2. Flagler collected straight-set singles wins at the No. 3 and No. 4 positions to take the 4-2 lead.
2010 NCAA II Southeast Regional (Men’s Tennis – Semifinal)
#13 Francis Marion University 5, #15 Flagler 4
May 07, 2010 at Savannah, Ga. (Bacon Park)
1. #2 Dilshod Sharifi (FMUM) def. #10 David Cotrone (FCM) 7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 6-2
2. #13 Oshada Wijemanne (FMUM) def. Harry Snoxell (FCM) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
3. Gino Ramirez (FCM) def. Dirk Bair (FMUM) 7-5, 6-2
4. Peter Coulis (FCM) def. Alex Caspari (FMUM) 6-4, 6-3
5. Karl Rogers (FMUM) def. Tim Hansson (FCM) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
6. Jack Bishop (FMUM) def. Mason Addison (FCM) 6-2, 6-2
1. #9 David Cotrone/Gino Ramirez (FCM) def. #7 Dilshod Sharifi/Oshada Wijemanne (FMUM) 8-6
2. Tim Hansson/Harry Snoxell (FCM) def. Dirk Bair/Jack Bishop (FMUM) 8-5
3. Alex Caspari/Karl Rogers (FMUM) def. Skyler Engel/Peter Coulis (FCM) 8-6
Flagler 14-9; National ranking #15
Francis Marion University 12-7; National ranking #13
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (6,3,4,5,2,1)
2010 NCAA Southeast Regional - Second Round