NORFOLK, Va. – The Norfolk State men’s tennis team fell to South Carolina State 4-0 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) semifinals on Friday afternoon at Old Dominion University’s Folkes-Stevens Tennis Center.
Norfolk State, the North’s No. 2 seed, finished the season at 4-9. South Carolina State, the No. 1 seed from the South, improved to 11-8 and advanced to Saturday’s championship match at noon against the South’s No. 2 seed, Florida A&M.
Despite the final score, the Spartans did not go away quietly. They split the first two doubles matches and had a chance to even the final match at 5-all before South Carolina State rallied to win the doubles point. The top four singles matches were competitive throughout. NSU’s top two players had set-point opportunities in their respective first-set tiebreakers before falling into early 1-0 holes.
South Carolina State’s top duo of Martin Figura and Jakub Vitek defeated the Spartans’ Andres Alcaraz and Dan Dumitrascu 6-1. Norfolk State’s third team of Vini Da Silva and Ignacio Guevel then evened things up with a 6-4 victory over the Bulldogs’ pair of Soufiane Mouline and Edgar Diaz.
Flavian Fernandez and Agustin Carrizo of Norfolk State trailed South Carolina State’s middle duo of Vladyslav Yanchenko and Stanislav Baco by a 5-2 score. The Spartan tandem cut the deficit to 5-4 and had an opportunity to even the match at 5-all. However, the Bulldogs rallied and took the match 6-4, earning the doubles point.
In singles action, South Carolina State claimed victories at the Nos. 1, 5 and 6 positions. Baco cruised to a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Carrizo at the No. 5 position, while Aleksander Stupar defeated Guevel 6-1, 6-1 at the No. 6.
At the conclusion of those matches, Norfolk State still had a chance to win, but needed to claim victories at the four remaining singles positions. Alcaraz, Fernandez and Da Silva each held early leads in their respective matches, but Fernandez was the only Spartan to hold on and win the first set.
In the end, Figura outlasted Alcaraz 7-6 (9-7), 6-3 at the top singles position, giving South Carolina State the victory.
The matches at the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 positions therefore went unfinished. Yanchenko led Da Silva 7-6 (10-8), 5-3 at the No. 2 position when the Bulldogs clinched, while Vitek was up in the third set against Dumitrascu, 6-4, 5-7, 1-0, at the No. 3. Mouline was leading Fernandez 3-6, 6-3, 3-2 at the No. 4 position when the overall match concluded.
Norfolk State will return its entire team for next season as all six players on this year’s squad were underclassmen.
Originally published at nsuspartans.com