Armstrong Atlantic shuts out Lynn
Pirates to play for third national championship, first since 2009
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- No. 1-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State blanked No. 3 Lynn 5-0 on Friday afternoon to advance to the NCAA Championship match at the Top Gun Tennis Academy.
The Pirates (29-0) will play for their third NCAA Division II championship, taking on No. 2 West Florida -- a 5-0 winner against Augusta State in the other semifinal match -- on Saturday afternoon. Armstrong captured back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009 and join the Pirate women in playing for a title tomorrow. Lynn ends its season 22-4.
Armstrong got off to a quick start in doubles for the first time in the Round of 16. Top-ranked Mikk Irdoja and Georgi Rumenov rebounded from just their second loss of the season with an 8-2 victory against No. 3-ranked Vlad Cirla and Willi Wolfer at No. 1 doubles. No. 17-ranked Sven Lalic and Pedro Scocuglia followed with an 8-4 victory against Max Kouyate and Amaury Van Haelen at No. 2 singles, then Eudaldo Bonet and Matus Mydla followed with an 8-5 victory against Alessio Iannozzi and Luca Pavanelli at No. 3 doubles.
The Pirates then won the first set in all six singles matches to get a huge leg up in the match. Daniel Regan closed out No. 6 singles with a 6-4, 6-2 win against Van Haelen, then No. 4-ranked Irdoja -- the only member of the Pirates who played in the 2009 title match -- followed with the clinching 6-4, 6-2 win against No. 40-ranked Pavanelli at No. 3 singles.
The two teams met during the regular season -- a 9-0 win by the Pirates on February 25th in Columbus, Ga., but head coach Simon Earnshaw expects Saturday's match to be more tight.
"We played them so early in the season that it's hard to know what the matchup will be like tomorrow," Earnshaw said. "They're having a great season and playing way better than when we played them. They will be fired up like crazy to play us tomorrow."