ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. — The top-ranked West Florida men's tennis team faced longtime regional rival second-ranked Barry and came away with a 5-2 victory to claim the 2017 NCAA Division II Men's Tennis National Championship at Sanlando Park on Friday.
The title was the fourth in program history and the second in the last four years. All four titles — 2004, 2005, 2014 and now 2017 — came when the championship was played at Sanlando Park. The Argonauts are 19-2 all-time at the facility, which has hosted the event nine times, and 4-2 in the finals.
It's over!!!!! National Champions!!!! pic.twitter.com/FxqyUrRlFb— UWF Athletics (@GoArgos) May 12, 2017
UWF's four titles are now tied for fourth-most in DII men's tennis. It was university's ninth team national championship.
"It's an amazing feeling and our team worked so hard all year on and off the court," UWF head coach Derrick Racine said. "It was a tight match. We were the top two teams all season and we barely beat them during the regular-season, and today was a grinding match as well.
"For you to win this thing, all of the stars have to align. You've got to put in the work, have to do everything right and you have to have a little luck. I just couldn't be prouder of these guys."
The featured doubles match was at No. 1 where the one- and two-ranked teams in the country were on display. But the Argonaut duo of No. 1 Alex Peyrot and Pedro Dumont tore through Ahmed Triki and Pierre Montrieui, 8-3. The Bucs tied the match moments later with a win at No. 3. Gabriel Dias and Pedro Roese collected an 8-5 victory to put UWF ahead 2-1 heading into singles.
Barry put the pressure on early with a 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 5 to tie the match at 2-2. But that was the end of the scoring for the Bucs in the match.
At No. 4, Serdar Bojadjiev won 6-3, 7-6, using a 7-3 tiebreaker to close his rookie season at 21-2. UWF earned the fourth point at No. 2 when Dias also won a second-set tiebreak, defeating No. 26 Montrieui 6-0, 7-6 (1) to shift the attention to the No. 6 match.
That's where Alfonso Castellano erased a one-set deficit to comeback 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 to set off a wild celebration of dancing, water spray, complete with a water cooler dunking of Racine by some of his eight seniors.