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No. 5 Bearcats defeat USC Aiken 5-2 in PBC quarterfinals

Lander's Eirik Groner reaches back to put something extra on his forehand during the PBC tournament on Friday afternoon. The No.5-ranked and third-seeded Bearcats defeated sixth-seeded USC Aiken 5-2 to book their spot in the semifinal round on Saturday (file photo by Ken Gerlinger)
Lander's Eirik Groner reaches back to put something extra on his forehand during the PBC tournament on Friday afternoon. The No.5-ranked and third-seeded Bearcats defeated sixth-seeded USC Aiken 5-2 to book their spot in the semifinal round on Saturday (file photo by Ken Gerlinger)

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.