BLUEFIELD – It was an NCAA Division II Atlantic 1 Regional tennis match that started in one state and finished in another for the West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats and the Chowan (N. C.) Hawks today.
The Bobcats and Hawks played doubles action in Bluefield, W. Va. and then rain forced singles action inside on the campus of Virginia Tech at Blacksburg.
Unfortunately for the Bobcats, they were upset by the Hawks by a 5-3 score.
Wesleyan was the fourth seed while Chowan was the fifth seed in the tournament and the Bobcats had defeated Chowan in the regular season by a 6-3 score.
In the regular-season encounter, the Bobcats swept all three doubles matches.
Chowan turned the tables as they swept the doubles action this time around.
Following doubles play, the two teams made the one-hour trip to Blacksburg from Bluefield.
Wesleyan tried the close the gap winning three singles match but couldn't overcome the early deficit.
"We came back from being down 3-0," remarked head coach Marc Walters. "I am very proud of our guys. Chowan did what they needed to do to advance but I don't feel like we lost out there today."
Timothy Stephens won the first singles match that was completed defeating Louis Proulx by a 6-3, 6-1 score.
That closed the Wesleyan deficit to 4-3, but Chowan's Adi Kaliakperov finally put away Ferran Berga in three sets (6-7, 6-0, 6-3).
The total length of the match was six hours.
"I think the break and the trip to Blacksburg probably hurt Chowan more than it helped us," remarked Walters. "It gave us time to gather our thoughts and get ready to battle in singles, but it probably slowed down their momentum."
Wesleyan ended the year with a 19-6 record.
"Our team has had a heck of a year and a tremendous fight in them all season long," Walters concluded. "We have made so much improvement from start to finish. We began the semester ranked seventh and we made ourselves relevant through a lot of hard work. All-in-all it was a really good year and they guys were one of my favorite teams to coach."
Photo ID: Rodriguez and Jacobo Rendon return groundstrokes in their singles matches at Virginia Tech Sunday against Chowan aim the NCAA tournament. The matches were played in Blacksburg due to inclement weather in Bluefield.