Florida A&M Wins 2017 MEAC Men's Tennis Championship
NORFOLK, Va., April 22, 2017—Florida A&M ended South Carolina State’s string of dominance on Saturday at the Folkes-Stevens Tennis Center on the campus of Old Dominion University, defeating the Bulldogs 4-2 in the championship match of the 2017 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Men’s Tennis Championship.
The Rattlers won their first MEAC title in men’s tennis since 2000.
The Bulldogs captured the doubles point to begin the match, but the Rattlers bounced back in a big way during singles play. Of the five singles matches that ran to completion, Florida A&M won four of them; the Bulldogs’ lone singles win came in the No. 6 slot, where Aleksander Stupar came away with a 6-1, 6-4 victory.
Karlyn Small and Walner Espinoza picked up straight-set victories for the Rattlers; Small defeated Jakub Vitek 6-3, 6-4 in the No. 3 slot, while Espinoza won in the No. 4 position 6-2, 6-4 over Soufiane Mouline.
The clincher came in the No. 5 spot, where Frederico Nani overcame a 4-3 deficit in the final set, scoring the last three points to secure a 0-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Stanislav Baco.
Carlos Waitman, in No. 2, also had a three-set win – 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 over Vladyslav Yanchenko.
Espinoza was named the tournament’s Outstanding Performer, while head coach Rochelle Goldthreate was named the Outstanding Coach.
The Rattlers earn the MEAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Div. I Men’s Tennis Championships; the selection show will be on Tuesday, May 2 at 5 p.m. on NCAA.com.
Outstanding Performer: Walner Espinoza, Florida A&M
Outstanding Coach: Rochelle Goldthreate, Florida A&M
#1 Doubles: Martin Figura/Jakub Vitek, South Carolina State
#2 Doubles: Vladyslav Yanchenko/Stanislav Baco, South Carolina State
#3 Doubles: Frederico Nani/Jalen Evans, Florida A&M
#1 Singles: Courage Okungbowa, Florida A&M
#2 Singles: Arjun Ramakrishnan, Morgan State
#3 Singles: Karlyn Small, Florida A&M
#4 Singles: Walner Espinoza, Florida A&M
#5 Singles: Frederico Nani, Florida A&M
#6 Singles: Aleksander Stupar, South Carolina State