NCAA Men's Tennis: No. 1 Cougars Roll Into NCAA Quarterfinals

NCAA Men's Tennis: No. 1 Cougars Roll Into NCAA Quarterfinals

ALTAMONTE Springs, Fla. - Continuing the quest for back-to-back national championships, the top-ranked Columbus State University men's tennis team took a step closer Tuesday defeating 39th-ranked Mercyhurst 4-0. The NCAA Tournament Round of 16 match took place at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, Fla.

The Cougars (26-2) advance to the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals for the third consecutive season and fifth time in program history. CSU will take on 20th-ranked Midwestern State Wednesday at 4 p.m. for the right to advance to the semifinals.

"Give the guys credit today," said head coach Evan Isaacs. "We had to play through some adversity today after sitting around waiting to play. It's not easy to play how we did today in this weather and against a top-class team like Mercyhurst."

CSU took control of the match after earning the doubles point. KP Pannu and Tommaso Schold kicked things off for the Cougars with a clean 6-0 win at second doubles. Matei Avram and Fabien Asdrubal recorded the other Columbus State victory at third doubles by a 6-2 margin. The top-ranked pair of Alvaro Regalado and Zach Whaanga were ahead at first doubles when CSU earned the point.

Columbus State carried the momentum over into singles play winning the first set in all six matches. Mercyhurst (18-4) was able to hold off the Cougar rally for awhile until the victories started to roll in. Fourth singles was the first to finish as 54th-ranked Arnold Kokulewski took the 6-1, 6-1 straight set win. Schold gave the Cougars a 3-0 margin after taking sixth singles 6-0, 6-4.

The match clincher came at the second spot. Playing up in the lineup, 66th-ranked Asdrubal rolled in the first set 6-2 before winning the second set in a 7-4 tiebreak to send the Cougars to the quarterfinals.

CSU was seconds away from adding more victories when play was called. Regaldo and Avram both had match points at third and fifth singles, respectively, while Whannga was one game shy from a win at first singles.