SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Southern Indiana rallied from a 3-2 deficit to defeat Wayne State (Mich.) 5-3 in the opening round of the NCAA II Midwest Region No. 1 Tournament on Saturday afternoon.
After posting wins at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles to build a 2-0 lead, USI suffered losses at No. 3 doubles as well as No. 6 and No. 3 singles to fall into a one-match deficit.
Senior Santiago Lopez evened the score with a 6-3, 7-5 win at No. 2 singles and sophomore Joel Stern earned a 6-3, 6-2 triumph at No. 4 singles to give the Screaming Eagles a 4-3 advantage.
Sophomore Jack Joyce sealed the victory for USI with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) win at No. 1 singles.
"I am very proud of my guys for playing hard; they deserved to win," USI head coach Chris Crawford said. "After not playing for almost two weeks, our guys battled through very difficult conditions. It was another great win for our program and our school."
USI's early lead was critical for the Eagles. Joyce and Lopez gave USI its first tally with an 8-6 win at No. 1 doubles; while Stern and freshman Josh Walden had a 9-8 (7-4) triumph at No. 2 doubles to stake USI to the early two-match advantage.
The Eagles (19-7) take on No. 10 and tournament host Drury on Sunday or the right to advance to the NCAA championship tournament May 14-17 in Altamonte Springs, Florida.
USI, the No. 4 seed, advanced to the round of 16 for the first time in program history last season and are looking to make it two years in a row. Drury (22-2), the Great Lakes Valley Conference champion, defeated USI 5-1 two weeks ago in the GLVC tournament.