ORLANDO – Cameron University’s men’s tennis team has advanced past the first round of the NCAA Division II National Championship, for the first time since 2015, after a 4-1 win over No. 8 Northwest Missouri State on Thursday morning at the USTA National Campus (Collegiate Center).
This marks only the second win in program history at nationals as they hold a 2-9 record all-time, with the last win in 2015 when Cameron Hall of Fame head coach James Helvey’s squad beat Mercyhurst 5-0.
After linking up with the eighth-seeded Bearcats, the No. 9 CU men were out for blood to revenge an early 4-3 loss this season, this time with a chance to move on to the quarterfinals match on the line.
“Great team win today,” stated head coach Josh Cobble. “We played really tough in the doubles, which put us in a great spot going into the singles. Northwest came out really strong in the singles, but the guys held tough and battled back. The guys played together with great energy all day. Proud of this first match and ready for the next one.”
Doubles was a close battle between the two teams, as Kristian Kubik and Emilio Seelbach stayed perfect on the season at No. 3 with a 6-1 win, and the 17th-ranked duo of Tomas Almeida and Thomas Cardona held off the 22nd-ranked pair of Filippo Piranomonte and Andrea Zamurri 6-4 at one. Joao Duleba and Baptiste Mercier did not complete the match at two but were tied at 6-6 when Cameron secured the first point.
The Black-and-Gold jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead after Cardona and Mercier secured wins at No. 2 and No. 3. Mercier made it 2-0 after a 6-4, 6-1 win over the 63rd-ranked individual Fabien Calloud and Cardona took down Michael Delebois, who is ranked 50th, 7-5, 6-0.
Northwest scored their lone point at No. 4 singles, where Kubik fell to Jan Skerbatis 5-7, 2-6; the loss is the first that Kubik has suffered to a DII opponent this season.
Duleba clinched the victory for Cameron with a 7-5, 6-2 win on five as he defeated Mason Meier.
Almeida and Zamurri were in a heated battle at No. 1. As the two top-20 individuals squared off, No. 13 Zamurri won the opening set 6-3 before No. 17 Almeida responded with a 6-1 win to force a deciding third set, and they were tied at 2-2 when the match was called. The other unfinished match was at six, where Alvaro Chavez fell in the opening set 2-6 before finishing tied at 6-6 in set two.
Cameron moves on to face the top-seeded Valdosta State in the quarterfinals on Friday at 3 pm CDT, which beat Fairmont State 4-0 on Thursday.
CU’s women’s team hits the courts early this morning as they try to join the men’s team in the round of 8. The Lady Aggies battle University of Charleston at 7 a.m.