SAVANNAH, Ga. — The No. 8-ranked and third-seeded Lander men's tennis team lost to second-seeded and seventh-ranked Armstrong State in the NCAA Southeast Regional Final on Sunday afternoon, dropping the second round match to the host Pirates by a score of 5-3 at the Armstrong State Tennis Complex.
The Bearcats, who were looking for their first win over the Pirates since 2004, nearly rallied from a 4-0 deficit before their season ended.
Armstrong State took a commanding lead after sweeping all three doubles matchups and extended its advantage to 4-0 as Jan Porteset bested Lander's Marc Hofer in a grueling three-set match.
Sitting on the brink of elimination, the Bearcats responded by reeling off three straight victories to trim their deficit to 4-3 and put the Pirates on their heels. Ozan Cildir and David Korsten each earned crucial wins in straight sets to cut Armstrong State's lead in half, while Omar El-Moslemany roared back to beat Bjorn Kurtze in three sets after losing the first 6-1.
Lander came up just short in the end, however, with No. 38 Luca Cerin knocking off No. 42 Eirik Groner in straight sets to eliminate the Bearcats from the NCAA Tournament. Cerin emerged victorious before Jules Vauthier and Armstrong State's Lorenzo Camilli could conclude their third and deciding set, which Camilli led 1-0.
Lander ends its season with a 17-6 overall record, while the Pirates head to the NCAA Championships Round of 16 sporting a 20-7 mark.
In singles, No. 1 Luca Cerin (ARM) def. Eirik Groner (LU) 7-5, 6-2; No. 2 David Korsten (LU) def. Ignacio Hernandez (ARM) 6-2, 6-3; No. 3 Jan Porteset (ARM) def. Marc Hofer (LU) 3-6, 6-2, 6-3; No. 5 Ozan Cildir (LU) def. Alvaro Cruz Chomorro (ARM) 6-3, 6-3; and No. 6 Omar El-Moslemany (LU) def. Bjorn Kurtze (ARM) 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
In doubles, No. 1 Cerin/Hernandez (ARM) def. El-Moslemany/Hofer (LU) 8-3; No. 2 Lorenzo Camilli/Kurtze (ARM) def. Korsten/Jules Vauthier (LU) 9-8 (7-3); and No. 3 Chomorro/Porteset (ARM) def. Groner/Cildir (LU) 8-3.