Valdosta St. crowned 2011 champions
Blazers win hard-fought matchup for second national title
ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – Second-ranked Valdosta State claimed the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship, winning its second national title as it defeated No. 5 Barry 5-2 on Saturday morning at Sanlando Park.
The Blazers, who dropped a 5-4 decision at the 2010 championship to the Buccaneers, avenged last year’s loss and captured their first title since 2006.
|Blazers' Championship Run|
|VSU downs Columbus St. to reach title match|
|Valdosta St. sweeps St. Edward's|
|Blazers speed by Queens (N.Y.)|
Final | Semifinals | Quarterfinals | Round of 16
Doubles action was reminiscent of the 2010 final as Valdosta State took two of three from the defending national champions.
Valdosta State’s No. 12-ranked pair of Philip Pakebusch and Luis Loeffler collected the Blazers’ opening point as they breezed past Barry’s No. 36-ranked tandem of Marco Mokrzycki and Quentin Vachez 8-2. Valdosta continued its impressive play as the No. 2 pair of Daniel Dueren and Christian Hansen upended the Bucs’ No. 5-ranked pairing of Emanuel Fraitzl and Max Wimmer 8-3 at the top flight.
Down 2-0, the Buccaneers staged a stirring comeback at No. 3 doubles to cut the lead in half going into singles. Finding themselves down 4-0 midway through the match, the team of Sergio Velez and Oliver Lemaitre stormed back to take eight of the next 10 points, including breaking Valdosta with the score 7-6, to collect the come-from-behind win.
This time, singles proved to be a different story. It what could only be described as the most grueling and intense singles matches of the tournament, the Blazers collected the necessary five points before a charging Barry squad could make a comeback.
Barry tied the match at two apiece when Romain Costamagne ousted Otto Lenhart in straight sets 6-1, 6-3. Regaining the lead, the Blazers’ Kutschenko edged Lamaitre in first set tiebreaker 7-6 (7-2) before downing his opponent 6-1 in the second to take the No.5 slot.
With Barry making a charge at Nos. 1 and 2 singles, Hansen sided the fourth point to the Blazers as he took out No. 35 Mokrzycki after a difficult first set tiebreaker 7-6 (6-4), 6-4. Meer moments after the fourth point, Valdosta State sealed the deal at No. 4 singles. The No. 30-ranked Loeffler, after edging Vachez in taxing first set 7-6 (8-6), sent a forehand down the line to clinch the 6-3 second set win and give the Blazers the trophy.
The national runner-up Buccaneers finished the 2011 campaign with a 22-8 overall record.