COLUMBUS - The top-ranked Columbus State University men's tennis team came away with another sweep, this time taking down eighth-ranked Lander 4-0 to advance to the NCAA Tournament Round of 16. The NCAA second round match was played at the John W. Walden Tennis Center.
With the win, Columbus State (25-2) advances to the Round of 16 for the third straight season and sixth time overall. The Cougars will have a week off before playing against an opponent still to be determined.
"I am super proud of this group of guys," said head coach Evan Isaacs. "We have bigger goals left to accomplish, but winning the regional title is always on the list, so it feels good to watch the team celebrate."
Originally scheduled for 9:00 a.m., the match didn't get underway until late afternoon thanks to heavy thunderstorms in the Columbus area.
The Cougars were in for a fight early as Lander came out strong opening with a 6-1 win at second doubles over KP Pannu and Tommaso Schold.
But first and third doubles came storming back for CSU each winning by a 6-2 scoreline. Matei Avram and Fabien Asdrubal grabbed a win at third before top-ranked Zach Whaanga and Alvaro Regalado defeated Axel Cronje and Gabriel Couto to secure the Cougar point.
Columbus State didn't waste any time in singles play winning the first four sets in six of the matches. Arnold Kokulewski was dominant at fourth singles to record CSU's first win in singles play. The 54th-ranked player in the nation took the match 6-2, 6-0. At the top spot, top-ranked Pannu didn't have any trouble in the first set, but fell down a game early in the second. However, the senior stormed back to take the set and match 6-3, 6-4 over 50th-ranked Axel Cronje.
Needing just one more win to clinch the regional title, it was a race to the finish between Regalado and Whaanga to see who punched CSU's ticket to the Round of 16. Third singles wrapped up first as 25th-ranked Regalado took the match 6-1, 7-5. Thirty-fourth-ranked Whaanga was up 6-3, 4-2 when play was called.
In the other unfinished matches, 54th-ranked Avram was down a set at fifth singles while Schold split the first two sets against his opponent.