Tennis Bobcats Are Co-MEC Champions

Tennis Bobcats Are Co-MEC Champions
CHARLESTON - The West Virginia Wesleyan men's tennis team laid claim to their first MEC regular season title with a 7-2 victory over the Charleston Golden Eagles here Sunday at the Schoenbaum Tennis Complex.

With the win over the Golden Eagles, the Bobcats finished the season 18-4 and 6-1 in MEC play, tying West Liberty and Charleston for the title.

Charleston came into the match undefeated in MEC play and looking to take the crown outright.

But for the second time in as many days, the 'Cats overcame a regionally ranked opponent on the road for the win.

"It's been a long road, literally, to this point of the season and I could not be happier for these guys," said head coach Marc Walters. "We began preparing for this day in August and we ramped it up to another level in January and February with our conditioning and doubles work and it all paid off in the past three weekends. Today was a culmination of their dedication and professionalism all year."

The Bobcats got off to a fast start by taking two of the three doubles matches, with Ramon Rodriguez and Pedro Nassar nabbing an 8-4 win at the No. 2 position.

Almost immediately afterwards, Nathan Sabate and Ferran Berga closed out their No. 1 match by the same score to give the 'Cats a 2-0 lead.

Charlesotn took the No. 3 spot to close the gap to 2-1, but Wesleyan then won five of the six singles matches in order to seal the outcome and give the Bobcats the win.

Berga, Nassar, and Rodriguez each contributed two wins on the day, and the Bobcats also got singles wins from Jacobo Rendon and Timothy Stephens.

At No. 2 singles, Rendon turned back Charleston's James Gammell 7-6 (3), 6-3 in a battle of regionally ranked players, while Rodriguez clinched the fifth and deciding point with a 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over Ivan Rajavec in the No. 3 match.

The Golden Eagles' Alec Foote won the sole victory for his team with a 6-4, 6-7 (4), 10-8 decision over Sabate at the top spot in the final result of the day. Foote finished the season undefeated in MEC singles play and is the top contender for the MEC Player Of The Year honors.

But the team result was long decided by that time as Wesleyan rolled to straight set wins at the rest of the positions.

"It was a typical Wesleyan and UC match, full of ebbs and flows and a few surprises," said Walters. "In the end, we just hung around a little longer on the bottom courts than they did and it paid off with a big win for some deserving kids."

Wesleyan, by virtue of MEC tie-breaker policy, have earned the top seed for the conference tournament to be held back in Charleston beginning this Friday.

The 'Cats will have a bye Friday, then play the winner of No. 4 UVa.-Wise and No. 5 Fairmont State on Saturday at 11a.m

Conference co-champions West Liberty and Charleston will be the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, respectively, as decided by the tiebreaker system.

West Liberty, the defending MEC champions, will have a bye while Charleston will square off against No. 6 Shepherd in the quarterfinals on Friday.

"I am not sure I get the tie-breaker system exactly, but they tell us we are the top seed so we'll run with it," said Walters. "We have been playing so many matches back-to-back over the past months that having an extra day to rest is a very welcome thing."
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Quarterfinals (Friday, April 22)

11 a.m. #4 UVa-Wise vs. #5 Fairmont State
2 p.m. #3 Charleston vs. #6 Shepherd

Semifinals (Saturday, April 23)
11 a.m. #1 West Virginia Wesleyan vs. #4/5 Winner
2 p.m. #2 West Liberty vs. #3/6 Winner

Finals (Sunday, April 24)

Noon Championship