ASHEVILLE, N.C. – For the second day in a row, the Presbyterian College men’s tennis team used a third-set victory in a deciding match to advance at the Big South Conference Championship tournament. William O'Connell (Nadi, Fiji) played the role of hero on Friday, winning a third-set tiebreaker to give No. 7 PC a victory over No. 3 Coastal Carolina in the semifinals and advance the Blue Hose to Saturday’s championship match, 4-3.
PC will play top-seeded Radford in the championship game tomorrow at 1 p.m. at the Asheville Racquet Club, located at the Crowne Plaza Resort.
The Blue Hose (13-15) took the doubles point from Coastal Carolina (14-6) and won two of its three singles victories in the final set.
With the dual match tied at 3-3, O’Connell found himself locked in a third set battle against Yusuke Kusuda at the third flight. The Blue Hose junior kept a steady lead on his Chanticleer opponent before Kusuda knotted up the set, 6-6. O’Connell then gutted out a 10-8 win in the tiebreaker to take the match, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (10-8).
PC rallied from a 3-2 dual match deficit thanks to a Zachary Sprouse (Hilton Head, S.C.) win at the fifth flight against Matias Di Pasquale. In a match similar to his historic Friday win, the senior recovered from a 3-6 first set loss by taking the second set via tiebreaker, 7-6 (7-3), before sealing the result with a 6-3 third set victory.
PC’s first singles match decision came at the top flight. Grayson Mills (Lilburn, Ga.) cruised to a win over Danny Heidecker in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1.
Coastal Carolina made a spirited run at advancing, winning three singles matches of its own. Leo Christofides knocked off Rafael Berghaus (Offenbach, Germany) at the second flight, 6-2, 7-5, while Garik Yedigarian topped Andrew Brigham (Birmingham, England) at the fourth flight, 6-2, 6-0.
John Karle needed three sets to edge Gonzalo Asis (Madrid, Spain), 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.
The Blue Hose captured the doubles point with a pair of top-flight wins by 8-5 margins. Berghaus and Mills dispatched Heidecker and Kusuda while Brigham and O’Connell topped Di Pasquale and Yedigarian.
1. MILLS, Grayson (PCM) def. HEIDECKER, Danny (COASTALM) 6-1, 6-1
2. CHRISTOFIDES, Leo (COASTALM) def. BERGHAUS, Rafael (PCM) 6-2, 7-5
3. O'CONNELL, William (PCM) def. KUSUDA, Yusuke (COASTALM) 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (10-8)
4. YEDIGARIAN, Garik (COASTALM) def. BRIGHAM, Andrew (PCM) 6-2, 6-0
5. SPROUSE, Zachary (PCM) def. DI PASQUALE, Matias (COASTALM) 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3
6. KARLE, John (COASTALM) def. ASIS, Gonzalo (PCM) 6-2, 2-6, 6-3
1. BERGHAUS, Rafael/MILLS, Grayson (PCM) def. HEIDECKER, Danny/KUSUDA, Yusuke (COASTALM) 8-5
2. BRIGHAM, Andrew/O'CONNELL, William (PCM) def. DI PASQUALE, Matias/YEDIGARIAN, Garik (COASTALM) 8-5
3. BARR, Sam/KARLE, John (COASTALM) vs. CROCKER, Nathan/SNEAD, Edward (PCM) 4-6, unfinished