DENVER, Colo. (May 21, 2016) – The wait is over.
The No. 3 Hawaii Pacific men’s tennis team toppled top-ranked Saint Leo (Fla.) University 5-3 in the title match of the NCAA Division II Tennis Championships on Saturday at Metro State University’s Regency Athletic Complex.
The Sharks (21-3) had previously handed the Lions (27-2) their lone loss of the campaign on March 19, also in Denver. The competition marked the third consecutive trip to the title match for the Sharks, who had finished as the runner-up five times since 2000 and were finally able to hoist the championship hardware.
HPU saw the momentum shift in favor of Saint Leo as the Lions claimed two-of-three doubles matches. HPU’s third-ranked team of Thibaud Berland and Alexander Meyer was knocked off by the top-ranked duo of A. Barroso-Campos and Alex Theiler, 8-6. The Sharks tandem of Filip Dolezel and Jaume Martinez-Vich defeated the No. 20 squad of Egor Panyushkin and Jamie Bueno, 8-2, while Torben Otto and Jakub Hadrava lost to Francisco Aparicio and Oskar Nurmio, 9-8 (7-3).
Berland – the top-ranked singles player in the country and reigning PacWest Player of the Year – then knocked off fourth-ranked Barrosco-Campos 6-3, 6-3 to tie the competition at 2-all.
The tightly-contested battle continued as Saint Leo’s No. 19 Panyushkin halted No. 20 Martinez-Vich 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. Hadrava then ousted Elliot Carnello 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to even the overall score at 3-all with three singles matches to play.
Otto put HPU ahead 4-3 with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 victory over Guillaume Vanelven as the remaining two matches continued into their third sets. The Sharks were able to hoist the trophy after Dolezel grinded out a come-from-behind 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 victory over Bueno to clinch the victory with one match unfinished.
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