WICHITA FALLS, Texas – Cameron men's tennis pulled out a big 4-2 win on Tuesday as they beat rival and 33rd ranked Midwestern State in the NCAA Division II South Central Regional to punch their ticket to the nationals.
The Aggies entered the NCAA postseason as the 3-seed in the South Central Region, earning a date with their Red River rival MSU, the 2-seed, at the MSU Tennis Center. Tuesday's battle was a revenge match for CU, who lost 5-2 to the Mustangs back on 5-2.
Cameron came out and played with energy in doubles. Baptiste Mercier and Joao Duleba opened the match with a 6-4 win at three and then Tomas Almeida and Thomas Cardonatook down the No. 4 ranked duo of Ben Westwick and Alex Martinez Roca on one, 6-3 to earn the doubles point for the Aggies.
"I was really proud of the way we came out and started the match," said CU head coach Josh Cobble. "We definitely won the energy battle and showed fight against a team that beat us earlier in the season."
Almost all six of the singles matches were close in this postseason rivalry meeting. The freshman sensation Cardona made quick work of his opponent at two 6-1, 6-2 before MSU's Charles Heffernan beat CU's Kristian Kubik 6-3, 6-1 at five to make it a 2-1 score.
Just a few minutes after MSU got their first point of the match, CU made it 3-1 as Duleba won 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 in a battle at six. On court four, Mercier battled back from a 6-1 loss in set one to win set two 6-2. In what could have been the regional deciding set, the sophomore battled to a 6-all tie and led 4-1 in the tiebreak before Marcel Miret Avante came back and won 7-6 in the tiebreak to make it a 3-2 match.
On the adjacent court, Carlos Vidal lost 6-1 in the opening frame before coming back to win set two 6-3. Vidal led for a majority of the third set and put MSU's Ben Westwick away with a 6-3 victory to clinch the match and punch the Aggies' ticket to Altamonte Springs, Fla. On court one, Almeida lost the first set to the 25th ranked Martinez Roca 7-6 (7-1) and was trailing 6-5 in the second before the match was called.
"Our guys fought hard against a tough opponent. Each match was really close there at the end and it could have gone either way. Charlie (Vidal) did a good job of battling back and getting the win. We are excited to be able to earn the spot at the National Championship and looking to make a run there in Florida."
Cobble's Aggies are now 14-8 this season with the win over the Mustangs, including a 7-2 record in true road matches. It is the third straight season (excluding the shortened 2020 season) that the Cameron men have made the National Tournament and the fourth time since Cobble took over the program.
For the first time since 2016, both the Cameron men and women will be heading to the National Championship at the Sanlando Park Tennis Center in Altamonte Springs, Fla. The tournament is May 17-21 and both of CU's opponents and first match dates and times will be released in the coming days.