Columbus State one step closer to Round of 16 appearance, beats USC-Aiken
COLUMBUS, Ga. -- No. 8 Columbus State moved one step closer to the program's third Round of 16 appearance as the second-seeded Cougars defeated No. 30 South Carolina-Aiken 5-1 Saturday morning in the opening match of the NCAA tournament. The match took place at the Mary V. Blackmon Tennis Center on the campus of CSU.
It is the fifth consecutive season that CSU has recorded at least one NCAA tournament victory.
"This was a great victory for us," commented CSU head coach Evan Isaacs. "I thought the guys played very crisp today against a very tough USC Aiken squad."
Columbus State (18-3) took control of the match winning two of three doubles matches. At first doubles, Marco Almorin and Olivier Simonet jumped on Patrick Steibinger and Max Wichelhaus early and put down the duo 8-4. The match was all tied at one for a short period of time as Kevin Zerath and Ronan Reberac recorded the Pacers' only victory of the day winning 8-3 at third doubles over Adi Malicbegovic and Danilo Sardelli.
Second doubles wrapped up quickly after as Gordan Divljak and Quentin Rayniere controlled the match all the way through as they went on to defeat Bruno Orlandini and Andy Quirk 8-5.
Malicbegovic put the first win on the board in singles play blanking Orlandini 6-0, 6-0 at sixth singles. At third doubles, Rayniere made quick work off Stiebinger winning the match 6-2, 6-0. Just minutes after Rayniere wrapped up his match, Divljak clinched the victory for the Cougars winning 6-0, 6-2 over Ettore Damiani at second singles.
In the unfinished matches, Simonet was up a set over Zerath at the first spot while Almorin was just two games away from capturing a straight set victory over Quirk at fourth singles. Fifth singles was a tightly contested match as Sardelli was up 6-5 in the first set over Gobbi.
Columbus State will now wait to see who it will face in Sunday's Southeast Region bracket two final. The winner of the semifinal match between Lander and Augusta State will face the Cougars Sunday afternoon.