Dogs Down Trojans 5-3 for First-Ever NCAA Tourney Win
Savannah, Ga.----The eighth-seeded Wingate University Bulldogs defeated the ninth-seeded Trojans of Mount Olive College 5-3 in the opening round of the 2012 NCAA Southeast Regionals Sunday afternoon. Wingate wins its first-ever NCAA Tournament match, improving to 19-6 on the year. The Trojans end their season at 18-7 overall. The Bulldogs will take on number one Armstrong Monday at 2 p.m.
Seniors Drew Owen (Kitchener, Ontario) and Matt Lichtenstein (Darnestown, Md.) got Wingate on the board with an 8-2 win in number two doubles. The Trojans evened the match with an 8-5 win in number one doubles, but sophomore Ryan Forbes (Charlotte, N.C.) and freshman Diego Martinez (Queretaro, Mexico) rallied for a 9-7 win in number three doubles to put the Bulldogs on top 2-1 heading to singles play.
“Diego and Ryan fought back and rallied for a big victory,” Wingate head coach Michael Cabana says. “Their win changed the complexity of the match. We have struggled to find the right combinations in doubles, but I feel we have found the right combos at the right time.”
Mount Olive notched the first singles point with a 6-2, 6-3 win in number four singles. Freshman Josh Eardley (Newcastle, Staffordshire, England) put Wingate back on top with a 7-6, 6-2 win in number six singles. The Trojans tied the match at three when Forbes dropped a tough 6-4, 7-6 decision at number five singles.
Senior Flavio Rathsam (Sao Paulo, Brazil) dropped his first set 6-4 in number one singles, but stormed back with a 6-0 victory in the second. His 6-3 win in set three put the Bulldogs on top 4-3. Owen won his first set 7-6 in number one singles, winning the tiebreaker 10-8. His 6-3 victory in set two clinched the win for the Bulldogs. Lichtenstein dropped his first set 6-4 in number three singles, but won the second 6-0 and was ahead 3-2 in the third when the ‘Dogs clinched the victory.
Wingate will take on the nation’s number one team on Monday, facing the undefeated Pirates at 2 p.m. Armstrong is 24-0 on the season, and won the national title in 2008 and 2009. “It is a huge honor to play the number one team in the nation,” Cabana says. “We are excited to play Armstrong. We are looking forward to the challenge. This is the reason you compete…to play the very best.”