UNCW EDGES VCU, 4-3, TO CAPTURE CAA MEN'S TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP
It was the second CAA championship in the past three years for the Seahawks, who also beat VCU 4-3 in 2009 to win their first conference title. The Rams were competing in the CAA finals for the 15th time in 16 years, but failed to win for only the third time.
The match was decided in a three-set thriller at number five singles as UNCW’s Kosta Blank rallied for a 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 triumph over the Rams’ Filip Svensson.
UNCW took a 1-0 advantage by claiming the doubles point. The Seahawks’ top tandem of Kinshuk Sharma and Chris Cooprider topped Jamie Vazquez and Camill Salomon, 8-6, and UNCW’s number two duo of Illia Ziamtsou and Blank got past Tim Johannsen and Antoine Baroz, 8-5.
The Seahawks extended their lead to 2-0 in singles when Rafael Aita defeated Vazquez, 6-4, 6-1, at number four, but VCU battled back with three straight victories. It started at number one as the Rams’ Johannsen, the CAA Co-Player of the Year, beat Sharma, 6-0, 7-5. VCU’s Alejandro Argente followed with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Ziamtsou at number six and Max Wennakoski put the Rams ahead with a 6-3, 6-4, win over Michael Pereira at number two.
UNCW pulled out a pair of three-set matches to claim the title. Cooprider pulled out a 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-1 triumph over Antoine Baroz at number three, which set the stage for Blank’s deciding win at number five.
2011 CAA MEN’S TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP – Finals
Folkes-Stevens Tennis Center – Norfolk, Va.
#3 UNC Wilmington 4, #1 VCU 3
#1 Tim Johannsen (VCU) d. Kinshuk Sharma (UNCW), 6-0, 7-5
#2 Max Wennakoski (VCU) d. Michael Pereira (UNCW), 6-3, 6-4
#3 Chris Cooprider (UNCW) d. Antoine Baroz (VCU), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-1
#4 Rafael Aita (UNCW) d. Jamie Vazquez (VCU), 6-4, 6-1
#5 Kosta Blank (UNCW) d. Filip Svensson (VCU), 5-7, 6-2, 6-3
#6 Alejandro Argente (VCU) d. Illia Ziamtsou (UNCW), 6-2, 6-4
Singles Order of Finish: 4, 1, 6, 2, 3, 5
#1 Sharma/Cooprider (UNCW) d. Vazquez/Camill Salomon (VCU), 8-6
#2 Ziamtsou/Blank (UNCW) d. Johannsen/Baroz (VCU), 8-5
#3 Wennakoski/Svensson (VCU) vs. Pereira/Alex Wetherell (UNCW) – DNF 6-6
Doubles Order of Finish: 1, 2