Pirates Pick Up Hard-Fought 5-3 Win Over Lynn
It's always tough to knock off the defending national champions in any sport, and this afternoon was no exception. After the 2-1 lead in doubles, the Pirates picked up first-set wins at 4,5 and 6, but Lynn took the first set in 1,2 and 3 singles. Junior Kevin Sijmons - playing in his first-ever NCAA Championships match for the Pirates - put AASU up 3-1 with a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 6 singles over Alex Zara. Senior Davor Zink made it four points by winning a marathon tiebreaker in the second set and beating Axel Joachim, 6-4, 7-6 (11-9). Lynn fought back to win at No. 2 and No. 3 singles, setting up the freshmen, Tim Johannsen and Rafael Array with the deciding point.
Both matches went down to three sets, and as fortunes would have it, both faced match point at the same time. Tim broke the serve of Lorenzo Cava to win at No. 1 singles, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, picking up a huge singles win over a former top-ranked NCAA Division II singles player and clinching the match. Rafael led in his match, 7-5, 4-6, 5-3, and was serving at match point when the match was decided.
The Pirates aren't the only men's team having to work for its victories - Francis Marion played yet another 5-4 match, but the Patriots could not knock off Barry, falling to the Bucs. AASU faces the winner of Hawaii Pacific and West Florida in the semifinals tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. AASU has never advanced to the Championship match in men's play - the Pirates are 0-3 in semifinal matches, including the latest back in 2005. The Pirates are going to try and start a winning semifinal tradition tomorrow!