Rocky Mount, N.C. - The 2014 USA South Men's Tennis Tournament concluded on Sunday afternoon at the Slick Family Foundation Tennis Center, with top-seeded N.C. Wesleyan taking home the championship for a sixth consecutive season. The Bishops knocked off 3rd-seeded Methodist University by a 6-3 score to earn the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. At #4 singles, sophomore Eduardo Ugalde earned the championship-clinching point and was undefeated in the tournament en route to Most Valuable Player honors.
Ugalde was joined on the All-Tournament team by teammates Elias Kerem, Peter Hviid and Philipp Vylegzhanin, who each collected singles wins in the title match. The Bishops, who downed 8th-seeded Averett and 4th-seeded Piedmont by 9-0 scores on their way to the championship, surrendered just three points over the course of the tourney.
Versus Methodist, the Bishops took a 2-1 lead in doubles play, with the duos of Kerem/Ugalde and Vylegzhanin/Ben Tolhurst earning 8-2 and 8-4 victories at the #2 and #3 seeds, respectively. Methodist avoided the sweep with a 7-5 tiebreak win at #1.
In singles action, 2nd-seeded Kerem and 6th-seeded Vylegzhanin sandwiched straight-set victories around a Monarch win at #5 to give Wesleyan a 4-2 lead, while an MU victory at #1 made the score 4-3. Needing just one point to secure the title, the match would come down to Hviid and Ugalde's three-setters at the #3 and #4 seeds.
After dropping their opening sets, both players battled back for wins in the second... Ugalde's coming by a 6-4 tally and Hviid's by a 7-5 score. Ugalde proceeded to race out to a 3-0 lead in the third set and held serve the rest of the way to clinch the match. Hviid went on to earn a 7-5 win in his final set to secure the 6-3 team victory, which is the 55th straight over USA South opponents dating back to the 2009 season.
The Bishops will next face off against Johns Hopkins later in the month in preparation for NCAA regional play, which is set to begin on May 10th.
Taylor Buchholtz, Methodist
Peter Hviid, N.C. Wesleyan
Elias Kerem, N.C. Wesleyan
Duncan Miller, Methodist
Eduardo Ugalde, N.C. Wesleyan (MVP)
Philipp Vylegzhanin, N.C. Wesleyan