For the second year in a row, the Ouachita men’s tennis team has captured the Great American Conference men’s tennis championship. The Tigers defended their title in a championship rematch from 2012 against East Central University.
Following the conference tournament, the NCAA announced this year’s regional hosts and the participants at each region. Ouachita Head Coach Craig Ward and the Tigers added to their resume as they will host this year’s NCAA Central Regional for the second year in a row.
The Tigers hold the No. 1 seed in the regional, followed by automatic qualifier Northwest Missouri State University as the No. 2 seed, third seed Washburn University and fourth seed Southwest Baptist University.
The Tigers, who currently hold a 14-6 overall record, will face off with Southwest Baptist in the regional. The match will mark the second time the teams have met this year, with Ouachita winning the first by a score of 7-2. Southwest Baptist finished the year with a record of 10-10 and finished as the runner-up in the MIAA Conference Tournament
The match will be held on Tuesday, April 30, at 2 p.m. at the Heflin Tennis Center on the Ouachita campus. The winner of the match will advance to the Sweet 16, which will be held in Surprise, Ariz., beginning on May 8.
During the GAC conference championship, the Tigers kicked off doubles action with a win as GAC Player of the Year Marko Boskovic and GAC Freshman of the Year Vitor Oliviera took down East Central’s duo of Stefan Stein and Andrew Cabato by a score of 8-6.
They took the point in the second doubles match as well as All-GAC First Teamer Helge Knuth partnered with Marvin Muller to defeat Victor Blasco and Julian Caminos by a score of 8-5.
East Central got its first win of the match in the third doubles match as Max DeJuan and Marc Fillat gained a victory over Ouachita’s Teodor Anghel and Riccardo Bassani by a score of 8-5.
In singles play, the Tigers took four of the five matches that were completed. Ouachita’s Anghel and Knuth didn’t finish their singles matches due to Ouachita having already sealed the conference title.
Boskovic routed Stein in singles play, winning a 6-1, 6-0 match and giving the Tigers a 3-1 lead in team score. His win was followed by a 6-4, 6-2 win for Muller over Fillat in the No. 3 slot.
East Central’s only win in singles play came in the No. 4 slot, as Blasco took down Ouachita’s Oliveira by a score of 6-3, 6-2.
Ouachita’s Leon Ferran, competing in the No. 5 match, sealed the championship for Ouachita, defeating East Central’s Cabato in a 7-5, 6-3 final.
Ouachita entered the tournament holding the No. 1 ranking in the NCAA Division II Central Region standings. The Tigers advanced to the Elite Eight last year in NCAA Tournament play.
By Josh Fink, OBU sports information director