April 2, 2010

Michael Wilson
Special to NCAA.com

Thirteen If By Lander
No. 14 Lander has blown out to a 13-1 record this season despite stiff competition and a tough start. The Bearcats dropped their lone heartbreaker to Florida Southern on Feb. 6 in the season opener, losing four singles matches in straight sets to go 3-6.

Since then Lander has changed its mindset, winning the next 13 matches including key wins against No. 15 Francis Marion and No. 23 Augusta State. The Bearcats impressive streak started fast as they won three matches 9-0, but it has been rocky of late with back-to-back matches against No. 30 Lees-McRae and No. 17 USC-Aiken ending in meager 5-4 triumphs.

The team continues to win, however, as it enters the final month of the season well-positioned in the national rankings to make a run at the postseason festivities.

Choppy Water For The Seasiders

No. 27 BYU-Hawii have breezed through the middle of the season on an 11-game win streak, but stumbled during a trip through the southeast. The Seasiders have compiled a 13-3 but the Southern competition has the team in an uncharacteristic funk.

The Seasiders have dropped two of four matches during its eight-match, eight-day east coast road trip. Seventh-ranked West Florida dealt the Seasiders a 1-8 setback in their worst loss of the season and the team’s first since early February.

BYU-Hawaii also dropped a close match to No. 8 Columbus State 3-6. The Seasiders should look to right the ship heading in to the final weeks of the season despite the setbacks as they continue to look like the team to beat from the west coast.

Match-up of the Week—Double Feature
Blazing Back from Behind

The first matchup of the week took place in Pensacola, Fla. as No. 3 Valdosta State University took down No. 7 West Florida in a tight 5-4 match.

The Gulf South Conference rivals started the match off March 26 with heated doubles play as UWF’s No.3 doubles team won 8-6. The match was postponed until the following day for lighting problems, but not until the Argonauts took the lead with another doubles win going up 2-1.

The Blazers came back strong when play resumed the next day winning four of the six singles matchups. Fourth-ranked singles player Daniel Dueren lined up in the top spot to take down UWF’s 12-ranked Kevin Ducros in straight 6-4 sets. The Blazers star and top-ranked singles play dropped the second singles match to unranked Leandro Ferreira in straight sets 6-3, 7-6. Down 4-2 the Blazers picked up the wins they needed with the last three singles matches.

The Argonauts couldn’t capitalize on the substantial lead losing their 7th match of the season and falling to 9-7 on the season. Meanwhile, the Blazers had a large confidence boost with the come from behind win to improve to 12-1 and 4-0 in the GSC.

A Knight of Revelry

Fourth-ranked Lynn Knights celebrated a convincing win over rival second-ranked Barry in a shining 7-2 performance. Lynn dealt their rival a devastating setback, winning the first six points of the match in convincing fashion.

The Knights started the party with a sweep of the doubles matches as the nation’s No. 5 doubles team Luca Pavanelli and Alex Voirin crushed Barry’s Emanuel Fraitzl and Simon Raagaard in an 8-3 win. The next doubles matches saw closer finishes as the third pairing went into an extended tiebreak with the Knights’ Alessandro Sarra and Willi Wolfer staving off a strong effort from Ales Svigelj and Max Wimmer in a 9-8 (8-6) win.

With a 3-0 lead going into singles play the Knights were in control and continued to exercise that control winning the first three single matches. It was a celebration of nationally-ranked players as each of the top four spot feature top-35 matchups. Lynn’s eight-ranked Sarra downed No. 11 Marco Mokrzycki in straight sets with a tiebreaker; 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).

Barry went on to win the fourth match between No. 33 Fraitzl and No. 32 Pavanelli 6-2, 6-3. Barry also took the sixth matchup resulting in a 2-7 loss, the Buccaneers’ fourth loss of the season and their third in a row.
Lynn improves to 14-3 with only two matches left on the season. The win is also the Knights’ tenth win over a ranked team as the boast a 10-2 record against nationally-ranked DII teams.

Top Players

No. 15 Francis Marion’s Dilshod Sharifi earned the Peach Belt Conference’s player of the week honors after participating in just one match for the week. Sharifi squared off against No. 16 Flagler’s David Cotrone, the sixth-ranked singles player nationally. Sharifi won the match 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 with a crucial mid-match rally to take the second set. He also paired with teammate Oshada Wijemanne to win in the top doubles match.

Kyle Conzemius, Nebraska-Kearney’s freshman phenom, warranted player of the week honors for his performance against Mo.-St. Louis and Illinois-Springfi eld this week. Conzemius is now 7-0 in singles play on the season and has claimed the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conferences’ weekly honor twice this season.

The Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association named Domingos Carissimo of Southwest Baptist the player of the week due to his dominating record in singles and doubles on the week. The Ponte Nova, Brazil native started the week with four straight sets victories before cruising to a 10-2 record for the week. He led the Bearcats to 4-2 record for the week and 8-8 on the season.