MOBILE, Alabama - McMurry University's men's tennis team assured itself of a final-four finish at the 2013 National Christian College Athletic Association championships, thanks to its 5-1 win over Roberts Wesleyan College (N.Y.) at the Mobile Tennis Center. With the victory, the War Hawks (13-8) finished Pool Play with a 2-1 record and, as the No. 2 finisher in Pool A, face Pool B top finisher Fresno Pacific University in the semifinals on Thursday at 9 a.m.
"We are playing our best tennis of the season right now," said McM head coach Mark Hathorn. "I am so proud of our guys and how the responded. They have been in every match against some quality teams.
"Now we have to reach down inside one more time and try to beat a very good Fresno Pacific team, if we want to play another day.
"(Being in this position) is our guys' reward for all their hard work this season."
The War Hawks jumped out to a 2-1 lead after doubles. At No. 1 doubles, Chris Breaux and Casjen Rico were victorious, as were Felipe Cruz and Dani Perez at No. 2.
No. 3 doubles was a tough loss for McM's Preston Steblein and Cristiano Mendes. The duo lost a 9-8 decision, with an 8-6 score in the tiebreaker (after serving one match point themselves).
That left the McM team three points from the match victory. At No. 3 singles, Perez made short work of RWC's Sam Thorold, 6-2, 6-0. At. No. 6 singles, Rico clawed out a straight-set win – 6-2, 7-5 – over the Redhawks Jordan Sadowitz.
With the team score at 4-1, McMurry got its clinching point from Preston Steblein at No. 4 singles. Steblein tapped out RWC's Robert Beer, 6-4, 6-3.
McM was up a set in two of the three unfinished matches, while the other split the first two sets.
McMurry University Men's Tennis
Roberts Wesleyan College vs McMurry University (May 08, 2013) McMurry University 5, Roberts Wesleyan College 1 May 08, 2013 at Mobile, Ala. (Mobile Tennis Center)
1. Chris Breaux (MCMMT) vs. Julio Toledo (RWC) 6-0, 4-6, unfinished 2. Felipe Cruz (MCMMT) vs. Charles Farres (RWC) 4-6, 6-2, 2-1, unfinished 3. Dani Perez (MCMMT) def. Sam Thorold (RWC) 6-2, 6-0 4. Preston Steblein (MCMMT) def. Robert Beer (RWC) 6-4, 6-3 5. Cristiano Mendes (MCMMT) vs. Emanuel Rauchle (RWC) 6-2, 3-2, unfinished 6. Casjen Rico (MCMMT) def. Jordan Sadowitz (RWC) 6-2, 7-5
1. Chris Breaux/Casjen Rico (MCMMT) def. Charles Farres/Sam Thorold (RWC) 8-5 2. Felipe Cruz/Dani Perez (MCMMT) def. Robert Beer/Emanuel Rauchle (RWC) 8-2 3. Julio Toledo/Jordan Sadowitz (RWC) def. Preston Steblein/Cristiano Mendes (MCMMT) 9-8 (8-6)
Roberts Wesleyan College 18-7
McMurry University 13-8
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (3,6,4) NATIONAL CHRISTIAN COLLEGE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION MEN'S TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS Pool Play - Third Round **McMurry advances to final-four, single elimination round on Thursday at 9 a.m.
Information for this story provided by McMurry Athletics.