04/18/05 — Trojans clinch share of CVAC men's tennis title

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Trojans clinch share of CVAC men's tennis title

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on April 18, 2005 1:54 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The Mount Olive College men's tennis team already set one school record this season. On Sunday, the Trojans achieved something never done in the history of the Mount Olive men's tennis program.

This afternoon, the squad has an opportunity to do something never achieved by any Trojan athletics team.

Nationally 39th-ranked Mount Olive clinched at least a share of its first-ever Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference regular-season men's tennis championship, defeating No. 36 Lees-McRae 6-3 Sunday at Walker Tennis Center.

The win assures the Trojans of the No. 1 seed in this weekend's CVAC men's tennis tournament.

The win also leaves Mount Olive as the lone remaining unbeaten team in conference play. The Trojans are one win away from becoming the first team in any sport in Mount Olive College athletics history to go unbeaten in CVAC play during the regular season.

Mount Olive, which finished the 2004 season with a six-match winning streak in regular season conference play, has now won 15 consecutive regular season conference matches.

Mount Olive (14-8 overall, 9-0 CVAC) lost two of three doubles matches and found itself trailing heading into singles play, a familiar scenario this season.

"Singles play has been the strength of our team," said head coach Burt Lewis. The Trojans have a 49-5 record in the CVAC in singles play.

Camilo Sabogal won in straight sets without dropping a game at No. 6 singles to even the match at 2-2 and Gabriel Garcia put the Trojans ahead to stay with a 6-1, 6-1 victory at No. 3 singles.

"Camilo set the tone and Gabriel really turned the tide with his win," said Lewis. "After that, the momentum started going our way."

Fernando Crisosto's straight-set win at No.2 singles gave Mount Olive a 5-2 lead and clinched the win for the Trojans.

With the loss, Lees-McRae (11-5, 7-3) is assured of the No. 4 seed in the CVAC tournament. Mount Olive and Lees-McRae would face each other again in the semifinals if both teams win their first-round matches Friday.

Mount Olive plays its regular-season and conference finale today at 3 p.m. as the Trojans head to Laurinburg to face St. Andrews. Even though St. Andrews (0-15, 0-9) is winless on the season, Lewis is making sure his squad isn't taking anything for granted.

"Our guys stay pretty focused on taking it one match at a time," said Lewis. "This is a conference match and our guys know we need to have the same effort and intensity we've had all season in the conference."

The Mount Olive women's team also wraps up regular-season conference play today at St. Andrews. Mount Olive (11-9 overall, 5-3 CVAC) enters the match tied with Pfeiffer for fourth place in the CVAC standings, but could move into a three-way tie for third place if Pfeiffer defeats Queens today.

St. Andrews (1-14, 1-7) picked up its first win of the season Sunday against Belmont Abbey.

The Trojans women's team has a shot at its first top four finish in the CVAC standings since 2000. The Mount Olive men's team, which already eclipsed its previous school record of seven conference wins, has a chance for the first perfect season in Trojan athletics history.

"We're breaking new ground," said Lewis. "It's pretty exciting."

With at least a share of the regular season men's tennis title, Mount Olive now has conference championships in each of the three sports seasons in 2004-05. The Trojans won CVAC tournament championships in men's and women's soccer in the fall and shared the regular season men's basketball title in the winter.