FLORENCE, S.C. — The No. 5-ranked and third-seeded Lander men's tennis team took the first step towards its 12th Peach Belt Conference tournament championship on Friday afternoon, earning a 5-2 victory over No. 33-ranked and sixth-seeded USC Aiken in the quarterfinals of the PBC tournament at the Dr. Eddie Floyd/Florence Tennis Center.
The Pacers got the better of the Bearcats in doubles play, taking two of the three matches. Lander made a statement in singles action, however, sweeping all four completed matches to secure the win and advance to the semifinals on Saturday afternoon.
The Bearcats improve to 16-4, while the Pacers drop to 10-8. Lander also defeated in-state rival USC Aiken during the regular season by a score of 7-2.
In singles, No. 1 Eirik Groner (LU) def. Mathias Degardin (USCA) 6-1, 6-0; No. 4 Ozan Cildir (LU) def. Hunter Lathrop (USCA) 6-4, 6-0; No. 5 Omar El-Moslemany (LU) def. Tales Silva (USCA) 6-1, 7-6; and No. 6 Charles Baron (LU) def. Wojciech Adamek (USCA) 7-5, 6-2.
In doubles, No. 1 Marc Hofer/El-Moslemany (LU) def. Degardin/Julien Tan (USCA) 9-7; No. 2 Antonio Sabugueiro/Silva (USCA) def. Cildir/Jules Vauthier (LU) 8-6; and No. 3 Lathrop/Adamek (USCA) def. David Korsten/Groner (LU) 9-7.
Lander will face No. 4-ranked and second-seeded Armstrong State in the semifinal round tomorrow at 1 p.m. The Bearcats saw their 13-match winning streak snapped after suffering a 5-4 defeat at Armstrong State earlier this month, but will aim for a different outcome on Saturday afternoon with a trip to the PBC tournament title match on the line.