BLACKSBURG (Va.) — West Virginia Wesleyan bounced back from an early hole to defeat the University of Charleston 4-2 in the opening round of the NCAA Division II men’s tennis tournament here Saturday.
The Bobcats took four singles matches after dropping the doubles point to start the day, clinching when Carlos Dodero defeated Alek Gracin 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 at the number two spot.
It was the second time in six days the ‘Cats faced off against the Golden Eagles, and third time this spring. While the outcome was the same as the previous matches, the route taken was decidedly different.
“We dodged another bullet indoors against these guys,” said head coach Marc Walters, who saw his team advance to the NCAA second round for the third consecutive year.
“UC plays good doubles, and the courts (at Virginia Tech’s Burrows Indoor Center) are pretty fast, which doesn’t always suit our guys’ games,” Walters said. “But we got the grinder going, and our fitness held up long enough to get out of here with a win.”
Wesleyan (17-7) advanced to play top-seeded Bluefield State in Sunday’s regional final for a trip to the Sweet 16. The No. 37 Big Blues knocked off Wesleyan on April 28 by a score of 4-2, snapping a 10-match win streak for the Bobcats.
Bluefield State has taken the last 12 meetings between the two regional rivals, but Walters remains optimistic about his squad.
“They’re well coached, well prepared, and they play the toughest schedule year in and year out,” said Walters of Bluefield State. “We will give them our best shot though, since we have a good mix of experience and talent at the right spots. We are looking forward to the challenge.”