NCAA Men' Tennis: Cougars Roll Into Second Round

Columbus State's Zach Whaanga
Columbus State's Zach Whaanga

COLUMBUS - Opening up NCAA Tournament play, the third-ranked and top-seeded Columbus State University men's tennis team defeated ninth-seeded Barton 5-1 on Saturday. The first round of the Southeast Regional was played at the John W. Walden CSU Tennis Complex.

Columbus State (22-3) advances to take on No. 15 and fifth-seeded Flagler on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Cougars beat the Saints 8-1 in the regular season before a 5-1 victory in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament semifinals.

"It feels good to get the first match out of the way," head coach Evan Isaacs said. "It would have been nice to get the sweep, but we got the job done and are able to get a little extra rest before a big match tomorrow."

Matei Avram and Zach Whaanga got the Cougars off on the right foot on Saturday, breezing past the opposition 8-1 at second doubles.

Barton (15-9) struck back however with an upset of KP Pannu and Maciej Kierkus 8-4 at the top doubles position.

In the swing point, Jorge Vargas and Shao-Yu Yu took down a marathon 90-minute match 9-7 to give CSU the lead heading into singles.

Pannu shook off doubles quickly and raced to a 6-1, 6-0 victory at first singles and Vargas quickly followed with a 6-0, 6-3 showing in the fifth spot.

Paul Sprengelmeijer wrapped up play with a 6-2, 6-1 straight set win at third singles to send the Cougars into the next round.

In the unfinished matches, Avram and Whaanga were each up a set, while Yu was leading in the third.