April 28, 2012

Saints Fall to Cougars in Opening Round of NCAA Tournament

Contact: David Beall,

COLUMBUS, GA – The North Georgia men's tennis team made their NCAA Tournament debut on Saturday morning, taking on 8th-ranked and host Columbus State and falling 5-1 at the Mary V. Blackmon Tennis Center in the opening round of the Southeast Regional. 

The 25th-ranked Saints cap their best season in school history at 14-9 overall after making their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Columbus State (23-3) advances to the second round of the Southeast Regional and find themselves one win away from the National Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.

North Georgia appeared to be off on the right foot in doubles action, leading two matches early and holding serve with the Cougars every step of the way. 

At No. 1 doubles the duo of Mateus Camasmie and Felipe Friedrich jumped out to an early 2-0 lead over Quentin Rayniere and Gordan Divljak, but the Cougar tandem rallied back to make it 6-6. North Georgia held serve and took a 7-6 lead before breaking the Cougars and picking up the 8-6 victory.

Giovani Santos and Brandon Sloan held a 5-2 lead at No. 3 doubles over Adi Malicbegovic, but the Cougar duo won six of the next seven games and rallied all the way back to pick up the 8-6 victory. The late rally for Columbus State gave the Cougars a 2-1 edge heading to singles after earning a convincing 8-1 win at No. 2 doubles. 

Needing to win four of the six singles matches to stay alive, the Saints were sluggish early, dropping the opening set in five of the six matches with Friedrich the only player jumping on top. Friedrich continued his domination of 23rd-ranked Olivier Simonet at No. 1 singles, taking the opening set 6-2, before trailing 4-3 in the second set of his unfinished match.

The Cougars clinched the win thanks to strong play at No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 singles who all picked up straight set victories to hand Columbus State a 5-1 win. When the match was clinched the Saints were rallying in three other matches and were well on their back into the match. 

After dropping their opening sets, Camasmie and Sloan were leading in their second sets and controlling the tempo when the Cougars clinched the match. Rodrigo Magan and Santos dropped their matches nearly simultaneously to send Columbus State into celebration and into the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Saints will look to continue their success in 2013, welcoming back all of their top five players in singles play, and top two doubles teams. Sloan and David Konigsberg are the lone seniors on the squad as they leave the Saints after leading the program to their first national ranking in school history and first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.

#8 Columbus State 5, #25 North Georgia 1
Apr 28, 2012 at Columbus, GA (Mary V. Blackmon Tennis Center)

Singles competition
1. #23 Olivier Simonet (CSUM) vs. Felipe Friedrich (NGMEN) 2-6, 4-3, unfinished
2. #48 Gordan Divljak (CSUM) vs. Mateus Camasmie (NGMEN) 6-3, 1-4, unfinished
3. Quentin Rayniere (CSUM) def. Mathew Guida (NGMEN) 6-2, 6-3
4. Martin Shishkov (CSUM) def. Rodrigo Magan (NGMEN) 6-1, 6-3
5. Michael Trebuhov (CSUM) def. Giovani Santos (NGMEN) 6-0, 6-3
6. Danilo Sardelli (CSUM) vs. Brandon Sloan (NGMEN) 6-1, 3-4, unfinished
Doubles competition
1. Felipe Friedrich/Mateus Camasmie (NGMEN) def. Quentin Rayniere/Gordan Divljak (CSUM) 8-6
2. #6 Olivier Simonet/Martin Shishkov (CSUM) def. Mathew Guida/Rodrigo Magan (NGMEN) 8-1
3. Adi Malicbegovic/Michael Trebuhov (CSUM) def. Giovani Santos/Brandon Sloan (NGMEN) 8-
Match Notes
North Georgia 14-9; National ranking #25; Regional ranking #7
Columbus State 23-3; National ranking #8; Regional ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (3,4,5)
2012 NCAA Tournament Second Round
Southeast Region Bracket #2
T-3:20 A-68