HUNTINGTON — For the third consecutive year, West Virginia Wesleyan captured the Mountain East Conference men’s tennis tournament championship with a 4-1 conquest of the University of Charleston this past Sunday.
After rain delayed play and forced the match indoors to the Huntington Tennis club, the Bobcats swiftly grabbed the doubles point to take an early 1-0 lead.
Lukas Laipold and Thomas McIntosh rolled to a 6-0 win at No. 3, and then Harry Simaioforidis and Christos Kyrillou served out a 6-4 victory at No. 2 to get the ‘Cats on the scoreboard.
Singles would not be as easy, however, as the Golden Eagles quickly drew even when Ben Lakeman beat Laipold in straight sets at the No. 1 spot.
Simaioforidis answered for Wesleyan with a hard-fought 7-5 6-3 win at the No. 5 spot, and the Bobcats had their second point.
When Maycon Santos Dias brought the ‘Cats to brink of the title with a 7-6 6-4 decision at No. 3, and all eyes fell to the second court, where Wesleyan’s Carlos Dodero and Alek Gracin were locked in a three-set battle of All-Conference performers.
Dodero broke early for 2-1 lead in the final set and then caught fire to take the next four games in succession to finish off the match, giving Wesleyan its third straight tourney title and fourth overall in head coach Marc Walters’s tenure.
The Bobcats, now 16-7 overall and 9-0 in MEC play this season, earned the MEC’s automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, which pairings were slated to be announced Tuesday evening.
This marks the 12th consecutive season that Wesleyan has qualified for the postseason, and seventh trip under Walters.
W. Va. Wesleyan 4 Charleston 1
S1: Ben Lakeman (UC) def. Lukas Laipold 6-3, 6-4
S2: Carlos Dodero (WVWC) def. Alek Gracin 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-1
S3: Maycon Santos Dias (WVWC) def. Joqo Tayar 7-6(4), 6-4
S4: Alex Lyudinovskiy vs. Tom Andrews Unfinished 6-1, 4-6, 4-3
S5: Charalampos Simaioforidis (WVWC) def. Jason Prince 7-5, 6-3
S6: Thomas McIntosh vs. Adam Malouf Unfinished 4-3
D1: Carlos Dodero / Maycon Santos Dias vs. Ben Lakeman / Joqo Tayar Unfinished 4-5
D2: Charalampos Simaioforidis / Christos Kyrillou (WVWC) def. Jason Prince / Alek Gracin 6-4
D3: Thomas McIntosh / Lukas Laipold (WVWC) def. Tom Andrews / Ian Morrison 6-0