ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, FLA. – The Valdosta State men’s tennis program
earned the right to defend its 2006 NCAA Division II National
Championship as the Blazers advanced to the 2007 National Title Match
with a 5-1 win over University of California-San Diego in the
semifinals match at Sanlando Park Friday morning.
The Blazers (20-5) opened the match by winning two of three points in
doubles play. Leos Jelinik and Dominik Hansen downed Blake Meister and
Eric Rubens 8-5 at No. 1 while Joerg Ekkenga and Nikolas Overkemping
defeated Steven Oechel and Richard Sabo 8-3 at No. 2. The Tritons
(18-7) rebounded for the final point as Kazumi Negishi and Bijan
Moallemi registered an 8-2 win over Michael Andreo and Thomas Provost
at No. 3.
Jelinek pushed the VSU lead to 3-1 with 6-1, 6-0 victory over Brandon
Low at No. 3 singles before Hansen defeated Negishi 6-2, 6-2 at No. 6.
Ekkenga closed out the match by defeating Rubens 6-4, 6-2 at No. 1.
“I’m thrilled that our guys have earned the right to defend their
national title,” said head coach John Hansen after the match. “Lynn is
a great tennis team that is playing great tennis right now, so tomorrow
is going to be tough. It should be an exciting match to watch and will
definitely be an exciting match to be a part of.”
Valdosta State will face Lynn in the national championship in a rematch
of last year’s title match. Lynn, which is 23-4 on the season, defeated
West Florida 5-0 in Friday’s other semifinal match.
The 2007 season marks the fourth straight year that a Gulf South
Conference team has played in the national title match as West Florida
won the national championship in both 2004 and 2005.