May 12, 2010

By Jarrod Rudolph
Special to

The Abilene Christian men’s tennis team is enjoying their time in Florida. In fact, they’re having such a good time they decided to extend their stay, advancing to the Thursday’s quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II championship for the first time since 1998.  

Joining the Wildcats in the quarterfinals are the two-time champion Armstrong Atlantic State Pirates, whose victory moved them one step closer to winning their third consecutive championship as they led a field of five undefeated teams into Thursday’s quarterfinals at Sanlando Park.

Abilene Christian defeated Hawaii Pacific, 5-4: For the first time since 1998 the Abilene (Tex.) Christian Wildcats (18-11) advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II championship. Led by John Strahl’s 7-6 (7-4), 6-0 victory, the Wildcats were able to hold off a late rally by Hawaii Pacific.

Valdosta State defeated Queens College, 5-0: The Valdosta (Ga.) State Blazers (20-1) came out blazing, leaving the Knights from Queens (NY) College in the dust. Konstantin Kutschenko led the Blazers to the win with his 6-0, 6-0 straight-set victory. The Blazers are looking to win their first national title since 2006.

Northwood (MI) defeated Western New Mexico, 5-1: The Timberwolves (Mich.) punched their ticket to the quarterfinals with a commanding 5-1 victory over the Mustangs from New Mexico. Peter Kazianschuetz, Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference player of the year, led the way for the Timberwolves (15-4) with 6-2, 6-2 straight-set victory.

Columbus State defeated West Virginia Wesleyan, 5-0: Daniel Stomberg led the way for the Cougars with his 6-3, 6-0 straight-set win. In their first NCAA appearance, Columbus (Ga.) State (19-4) is doing everything in their power to win a championship while proving they belong.

St. Edwards defeated Mesa State, 6-0: The Hilltoppers entered the match against Mesa (Ariz.) State on a seven-game winning streak. Led by Ned Boone’s 6-1, 6-4 single’s performance, St. Edwards (Austin, Tex.) won all three double matches before winning all of their singles matches, quickly dispatching the Mavericks to conclude play for the day.

Concordia defeated BYU Hawaii, 5-0:
The Clippers (NY) made their presence known with a dominating 5-0 victory over the Seasiders  behind Tamas Dobrotka’s 6-2, 6-2 straight-set victory, Concordia (25-3) showed they will be a difficult match for any of the remaining teams.

Barry defeated Drury, 5-1: Barry (Miami Shores, Fla.) earned a shot at two-time NCAA champion Armstrong Atlantic with their 5-1 win over Drury (Springfield, Mo.). Led by Andrew Sharnov, the Bucs (22-4) will get a chance to best the team that was won the last two national championships at their expense.

Armstrong Atlantic defeated Kutztown 5-0:
The defending champions didn’t waste any time letting the other seven teams know they’re the team to beat. Led by Mikk Irdoja’s 6-1, 6-0 straight-set win, the Pirates (30-1) dominated Kutztown (Pa.), quickly sending the Golden Bears of Pennsylvania into hibernation. The Pirates (Savannah, Ga.) are looking to with their third straight NCAA Division II championship.