Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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April 28, 2013

BSC tennis plays for national berth today

BLUEFIELD — A spot in the national round of 16 is on the line today when regional top men’s tennis seed Bluefield State College hosts fourth-seeded Kutztown (Pa.) University in the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region One championship match.

The two schools won’t have to go far into their records, or their collective memory, to review their head-to-head matchups.

Bluefield State’s Big Blues (20-2) defeated the Golden Bears 5-1 on April 13 on a neutral court at the Bloomsburg (Pa.) Duals.

Today’s match is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. at Bluefield City Courts, or in case of rain, at the Sarver Tennis Center in Bluefield, Va. Admission is free.

The winners will travel to Surprise, Ariz., about 45 minutes from downtown Phoenix, for the Division II national tournament, May 8-11.

Bluefield State earned the top seed after winning the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular season and the league’s tournament, both for the second year in a row.

The Big Blues are led by a trio of all-conference performers — senior Shikhar Kapur, sophomore Vishwesh Sinha and freshman Jacob Carey.

Kutztown (13-6), champion of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, defeated fifth-seeded Shaw University of Raleigh, N.C., 5-3 on Sunday at the Sarver Tennis Center to reach the regional final.

Shaw lacked a sixth player on Sunday, giving the Golden Bears an immediate 2-0 advantage via forfeits.

The Kutztown No. 1 doubles team of Rushi Amin and Varun Desai took an 8-5 win and improved to 9-0 this season. Amin, the PSAC men’s tennis athlete of the year, won his singles match 6-2, 6-0. He’s now 16-1 this season in singles play.

The clinching win for the Golden Bears came from Rich Lichtenwalner at No. 5 singles, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6). The Allentown, Pa. freshman was down 3-0 to Samuel Padilla in the second set but battled back to 6-6, forcing a tiebreaker. In the tiebreaker he was losing 5-1 before fighting back to win the tiebreaker 8-6 and end the semifinal.

In doubles play at the Bloomsburg Duals earlier this month, Sinha and Kapur topped Lichtenwalner and Ben Nace 8-4, while the BSC duo of Niklas Sparr and Vlad Catlan edged Kenny Beebe and Matthew Maguire 9-7.

Amin and Desai beat Carey and Piotr Kruk 8-4 for Kutztown’s only tally of the day. In singles, Catlan topped Patricio Hernandez 6-3, 6-1; Kruk dominated Lichtenwalner 6-0, 6-1; and Bluefield State’s Conner Pickering defeated Nace 6-3, 6-2 to wrap up the 5-1 win.

• • •

The University of Charleston and West Virginia Wesleyan battled down to the wire Sunday in the other half of the Atlantic Region playoffs, hosted by the Golden Eagles in Charleston.

Andre Fernandes was the key player Sunday as the third-ranked Bobcats (13-5) edged second-ranked Charleston (19-6) 5-4 to secure another berth in the national round of 16.

At No. 6 singles, Fernandes found himself down 3-0 in the tiebreaker, but reeled off seven straight points to clinch the match 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (3).

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