Armstrong rallies by No. 1 Valdosta St.
Blazers drop first match of the year in battle of unbeatens
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- In a battle of the last two unbeatens in Division II men's tennis, No. 3-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State blazed past top-ranked Valdosta State 7-2 on Friday afternoon at Bacon Park.
For the Pirates (14-0), it was a bit of revenge against the last team that handed Armstrong a loss in the regular season. Valdosta State (11-1) knocked off the Pirates 5-4 on April 10 of last season and went all the way to the national championship match.
Doubles provided tense moments on both sides as the Pirates took a 2-1 lead - and nearly had a 3-0 advantage. No. 8-ranked Eudaldo Bonet and Daniel Regan started by collecting an 8-6 win against No. 39-ranked Konstantin Kutschenko and Otto Lenhart at No. 3 doubles. Top-ranked Rafael Array and Mikk Irdoja survived an early break to knock off the No. 2-ranked duo of Daniel Dueren and Christian Hansen 8-5 at No. 1 doubles.
The No. 20-ranked duo of Matus Mydla and Pedro Scocuglia trailed No. 3-ranked Philip Pakebusch and Luis Loeffler 6-2 but battled back to go up 8-7 and serve for the match. Valdosta State broke the serve, sending the match to a tiebreaker. Mydla and Scocuglia fell behind 5-0 in the tiebreaker, battled back again to tie it at 6-6, but Pakebusch and Loeffler prevailed 10-8 to earn the point.
Armstrong earned first-set wins in four of the six singles matches to take an early advantage in singles play.
No. 30-ranked Mydla gave the Pirates their first point with a 6-0, 6-2 win against No. 25-ranked Hansen at No. 3 singles. Scocuglia followed with a 6-3, 6-4 win against Lenhhart at No. 6 singles, while Kutschenko soon notched a singles win for the Blazers with a 6-4, 6-2 victory against No. 21 Regan.
All three of the final singles matches came through in straight sets. No. 4-ranked Irdoja used an early break in the third set to down No. 6 Pakebusch 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 to clinch the match for Armstrong.
Soon after, No. 2-ranked Bonet claimed a 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-1 win against No. 8-ranked Dueren at No. 2 singles. No. 13-ranked Array closed out the match with a 5-7, 6-1, 6-0 win agaisnt No. 22-ranked Loeffler at No. 4 singles.