ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. - In a titanic championship match lasting exactly five hours, the top-ranked and defending DII national champion Armstrong Atlantic State men's tennis team erased a 2-1 deficit in doubles to win, 5-4, over second-ranked Barry and capture its second consecutive NCAA Division II Men's Tennis Championship on Saturday in Altamonte Springs.
The match came down to No. 5 singles, where Armstrong sophomore Rafael Array and Barry's Roman Werschel played a three-set match to determine the match. Array won the first set, 6-4, but Werschel rallied to win the second set, 7-5, and set up one set for the title. Already down a break at 5-3, Werschel failed to hold serve and Array took the set, match and championshipship.
Barry finishes runner-up for the second time in a row and fourth time overall in school history, ending its season at 27-3, the most wins in school history.
It was the first time since 2003 and the eighth time overall that the NCAA DII Men's Tennis championship has been decided by a 5-4 score.
Barry (27-3) started off well, taking a 2-1 lead after doubles. The Pirates (30-1) got on the board first with an 8-3 win at number three doubles as Eudaldo Bonet and Akos Torok defeated Jakub Fefjar and Sergio Velez.
Barry picked up a late break at the topflight with Emmanuel Fraitzl and Max Wimmer edging Paul Bishop and Mikk Irdoja, 8-6.
At the pivotal number two doubles match, Array and Tim Johannsen found themselves down, 6-3, but battled back to take a 7-6 lead. Barry’s Ales Svigelj and Andrew Sharnov, however, won the final three games to come away with a 9-7 victory.
In singles, every match but the final one ended in straight sets, setting up the drama. Twenty-sixth-ranked Irdoja gave the Pirates a singles point with a 6-2, 6-1 win over #46-ranked Sharnov at number three singles to even the match.
Wimmer knocked off 50th-ranked Fitzgerald, 6-2, 6-3, at number four singles, handing Fitzgerald his first dual match singles loss of the season to put Barry back up 3-2.
Johannsen defeated Fefjar, 6-4, 6-0, at number six singles to even the match up at 3-3.
Barry was one point away from the title after 18th-ranked Emmanuel Fraitzl defeated #20-ranked Bishop, 6-3, 6-4, at number two singles.
But second-ranked Bonet won a pivotal first-set tiebreak and went on to a 7-6, 6-0 win over #5 Svigelj at the top flight to make it 4-4.
Tennis Match Results
Armstrong Atlantic vs Barry
05/16/09 at Altamonte Springs, Fla.
#1 Armstrong Atlantic 5, #2 Barry 4
1. #2 Edualdo Bonet (AASU) def. #5 Ales Svigelj (BUM) 7-6 (7-4), 6-0
2. #18 Emanuel Fraitzl (BUM) def. #20 Paul Bishop (AASU) 6-3, 6-4
3. #26 Mikk Irdoja (AASU) def. #46 Andrew Sharnov (BUM) 6-2, 6-1
4. Max Wimmer (BUM) def. #50 Paul Fitzgerald (AASU) 6-2, 6-3
5. Rafael Array (AASU) def. Roman Werschel (BUM) 6-4, 5-7, 6-3
6. Tim Johannsen (AASU) def. Jakub Fejfar (BUM) 6-4, 6-1
1. Max Wimmer/Emanuel Fraitzl (BUM) def. Paul Bishop/Mikk Irdoja (AASU) 8-6
2. Andrew Sharnov/Ales Svigelj (BUM) def. Rafael Array/Tim Johannsen (AASU) 9-7
3. Edualdo Bonet/Akos Torok (AASU) def. Sergio Velez/Jakub Fejfar (BUM) 8-4
Armstrong Atlantic 30-1; National ranking #1
Barry 27-3; National ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (,3,4,6,2,1,5)
Armstrong Atlantic wins Division II national championship