The Midwestern State men's tennis team advanced to the Elite Eight for just the second time in program history as they defeated Southwest Baptist 5-2 on Wednesday at the NCAA Division II Championships at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex in Surprise, Arizona.
The No. 17 Mustangs (20-5) won their ninth straight with the victory, while the No. 37 Bearcats (11-11) lost to MSU for the second time this season.
"It's a great way to start off the finals," said MSU coach Scott Linn. "We were really composed. It was a good effort by everyone. It was our most complete match this season."
The Mustangs jumped out to the lead by grabbing a 2-1 lead in doubles.
MSU's No. 3 doubles team of Tomas Grejtak and Zack Santagate set the tone for the match by quickly dispatching SBU's Alex Belote and Guido Margiotta 8-1.
The Mustangs top duo gave MSU the lead as 14th ranked Luke Joyce and Colby Meeks beat the Bearcats' Omar El Kheshen and Kristof Kinal 8-5. SBU got the No. 2 doubles point
as Daniel Cardona and Domingos Carissimo downed Kyle Davidson and Austin Crawford 8-4.
"We did a fantastic job in doubles," said Linn. "We got up and put the pressure on them."
MSU then saw the bottom of the singles order come through to grab the win.
Franko Siljeg, playing No. 5, handled Belote 6-2, 6-1, finishing just minutes before Crawford, at No. 6, beat Margiotta 6-3, 6-3.
Kacper Boborykin ended the match with his 6-2, 6-2 win against Cardona at No. 4.
"Franko and Austin really stepped up today," said Linn. "And Kacper did a great job as well. It's the first national event for these guys."
MSU lost one singles point as Joyce, ranked 43rd in singles by the ITA, fell at No. 1 to 30th ranked Carissimo 6-0, 7-5.
Two matches went unfinished.
Meeks, at No. 3, had won his first set 6-3 over El Kheshen when the match was stopped, while Davidson was down 7-6, 1-0 at No. 2 to Kinal.
Midwestern advances to the national quarterfinals on Thursday at 10 a.m. Texas Time against second ranked Armstrong Atlantic (Ga.). The defending national champion, Armstrong blanked New York Tech 5-0 in the round of 16.
The outstanding season for the Midwestern State women came to an end Wednesday in the round of 16 at the NCAA Division II Championships as top-ranked and unbeaten Barry (Fla.) handed the No. 19 Mustangs a 5-0 loss.
MSU fell to 17-7, while Barry advances with a 26-0 record.
"We fought hard to the end," said MSU coach Scott Linn. "Our ladies played their hearts out and represented MSU so well. I'm proud of them."
The Mustangs battled hard against the Buccaneers, despite not winning a set.
The closest spots came at No. 1 and No. 4 singles.
MSU's Sarita Adhikary was giving No. 22 Elisabeth Abanda all she could handle at No. 1 singles. Abanda won the first set 7-5 and Adhikary was up 4-1 when the match was halted.
Freshman Madeline Schorlemmer also was down 7-5 after the first set at No. 4 singles to Karina Goia when play was stopped.
Barry took all three doubles quickly.
Adhikary and Lauren Pineda fell to eighth ranked Abanda and Emma Onila 8-3 at No. 1, while Schorlemmer and Kayla Casey fell at No. 2 to Linda Fritschken and Kimmy Twelker 8-2. Fatima Clementino and KynZee Watson lost at No. 3 to Goia and Isabela Miro 8-2.
The Bucs won straight set matches at No. 2 and No. 3 to end the match.
Casey lost to Fritschken 6-1, 6-0 at No. 3 before Taylor Coffman fell to No. 30 Onila 6-2, 6-3 at the No. 2 spot for the clincher.
In the other two unfinished matches, Twelker held a 6-1, 3-2 lead over MSU's Pineda at No. 5, with BU's Akemi Maehama leading Clementino 6-4, 2-1 at No. 6.
"This was a great learning experience for our younger players," said Linn. "Barry's got a great chance at making a run this year. They're good."
Linn continued, "This has been a great experience. The ladies don't want to leave."
The Mustangs women made their third trip to the Sweet 16, its first since 2005. That year MSU also fell to Barry 5-0.
The Midwestern State Mustangs faded in their final seven holes and finished eighth at the NCAA Division II South Central/West Regional on Wednesday.
The Mustangs posted a final round 4-over 292 for a 6-over 870 for the three-day tournament, to sit seven strokes away from reaching the fifth spot that would have allowed them to advance to the NCAA Division II Championship.
MSU freshman Santiago Gomez, who entered the day tied for sixth, remained in that position after a final round of even-par 72 to finish the tournament at 4-under 212. However, that was one stroke away from gaining an individual entry to the national tournament.
Gomez was 2-under through 11 holes before suffering a consecutive double bogies that knocked him out of position. He picked back up two of the strokes, but it wasn't enough to recover.
The Mustangs got their best round of the day from freshman Ian Gallagher. He toured the par 72, 7073 yard Home Course in DuPont, Washington with a 1-under 71. Gallagher tied for the second-best tournament amongst the Mustangs with a 4-over 220.
Junior Jeremy LeGuen posted a 3-over 75 to match Gallagher at 4-over 220, while senior Antonio Herran also added a 3-over 75 to record a 5-over 221. Sophomore Derek Oland turned in a 2-over 74 in the final round for a 78-over 224 total.
Midwestern actually had climbed into the fifth spot with seven holes to play before suffering six bogeys, two double bogeys and a triple bogey among the team down the stretch.
Cal State-Monterey Bay won the tournament with a 10-under 854, edging Western Washington by a stroke at 855 and Grand Canyon (Ariz.) by two at 856. Colorado-Colorado Springs was fourth at 3-under 861 and Cal State-Stanislaus fifth at 1-under 863.
The top five teams advance to the national championship at the Hershey Country Club in Hershey, Pa., May 20-24.
Individually, Western Washington's Kyl Schrader fired a 6-under 66 in the final round to claim the top spot at 10-under 206, two strokes better than Colorado-Colorado Springs Kevin Witte at 8-under 208.
Eric Ash of Sonoma State (Calif.) tied for third with Alex Sobstad of Monterey Bay at 6-under 210, with Dalen Yamauchi of Hawaii-Hilo at 5-under 211 in fifth. Ash and Yamauchi earned the super regions two individual medalist honors.
MSU's Gomez was part of a three-way tie for sixth at 4-under 212 that included Alex Carpenter of Abilene Christian and Ricky Owaki of Chico State (Calif.).