COLUMBUS, Ga. – The No. 8-ranked and fifth-seeded Lander men's tennis team opened up the NCAA Southeast Regional with a 4-3 victory over No. 4-ranked and fourth-seeded Flagler on Saturday at the Walden Tennis Center.
With the victory, the Bearcats (18-5) earned their second win of the year over Flagler (16-8) and advance to the Southeast Regional championship where they will take on No. 1-ranked and top-seeded Columbus State (24-2) on Sunday, May 12 at 9:00 a.m. Columbus State defeated eighth-seeded Limestone (13-8) in the day's first match.
The winner of the final will advance to Altamonte Springs, Fla., where 16 teams will compete for the national championship May 21-24.
In singles, Flagler moved ahead with wins at the No. 1 and No. 4 spots before Elliget rallied for a 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 win at No. 6 to tie the match at 2-2. Thomas De Negri followed suit with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 comeback win at No. 5. The Saints notched a third-set win at No. 3, tying the match once more and setting up a winner-take-all battle on court four. Cildir outlasted Felipe Carvalho 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 to put the Bearcats into the regional final and gave Lander its 25th win in 26 all-time NCAA Tournament openers.
Lander is playing in its seventh consecutive Southeast Regional final and is looking to advance to the NCAA Round of 16 for the fifth time in seven seasons.