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Blue Hose rally, return to NCAA Tournament

The PC men’s tennis team celebrates after winning the Big South championship Sunday in Charlotte.

The Presbyterian College men’s tennis team is headed back to the NCAA Championships after claiming its third Big South Conference championship over the weekend in Charlotte.

The Blue Hose got four singles wins to hold off Gardner-Webb 4-1 in Sunday’s finals at the Marion Diehl Tennis Center. The finals were delayed one day due to rainy weather in the Charlotte area on Saturday.

With the tournament victory, PC (16-9), which also defeated Campbell 4-2 in Friday’s semifinals, earned the Big South’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA tournament field will be announced Monday.

Sunday’s victory avenged PC’s only regular-season conference defeat – a 5-2 home loss to the Runnin’ Bulldogs (16-7) on March 4. PC was without No. 1 singles player and Big South Player of the Year Dusan Milanovich in that match due to illness.

But Milanovich was back Sunday and survived a shaky first set to down Gardner-Webb’s Eduardo Dias 6-7 (2-7), 6-3, 6-2 to clinch the match and the Big South title for PC.

After giving up the doubles point to Gardner-Webb, Sebastian Dominguez tied the match score at 1-1 with a 6-1, 6-3 win at No. 3 singles. At No. 5 singles, Javier Matos posted his 18th win of the season with a 6-2, 6-1 victory giving the Blue Hose a 2-1 lead. At No. 4 singles, Denim Yadav collected a 6-4, 6-2 decision to stretch the PC lead to 3-1.

“We tried really hard in doubles, Gardner-Webb played unbelievable,” PC coach John Collins said. “In singles, we talk about having every guy show up and own their court and fighting no matter what. We did that again today. This is everything our guys have been working hard for all year, I am so proud of their efforts today.”

The victory was Presbyterian’s eighth straight and the Blue Hose have won 12 of their last 14 matches.

Against Campbell on Friday, the Blue Hose also got four victories on the singles ladder in the 4-2 win over the Camels.

“You have to give a ton of credit to Campbell they came out strong,” Collins said. “We showed an incredible will to fight and found a way to win the match.”

The script was much the same as the finals with Campbell (14-7) claiming a pair of doubles matches for the doubles point.

The Blue Hose answered with four singles vicories from Milanovic, Davis Mamalat, Matos and Dominguez.

Here are results from the Big South Championship finals:

PC 4, Gardner-Webb 1

No. 1 Dusan Milanovic (PC) def. Eduardo Dias (GWU) 6-7 (2-7), 6-3, 6-2; No. 2 Max Benson (PC) v. Alex Lepine (GWU) 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 4-0 unfinished; No. 3 Sebastian Dominguez (PC) def. Numa Lemieux-Monette (GWU) 6-1, 6-3; Denim Yadav (GWU) def. Kim Niethammer (GWU) 6-4, 6-2; Javier Matos (PC) def. Victor Putter (GWU) 6-2, 6-1; David Mamalat (PC) def. Robin Angles (GWU) 2-6, 6-3, 5-4, unfinished.
Order of Finish: 3,5,4,1
No. 1 Dias/Chrisjan Van Wyk (GWU) def. Milanovic/Benson (PC) 6-2; No. 2 Matos/Dominguez (PC) v. Lemieux-Monette/Putter (GWU) 5-2 unfinished; Cathal Butler/Sebastian Harris (GWU) def. Teo Cariov/Mamalat (PC) 6-3.

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