Coastal runs table to claim Big South championship

It has been quite a two-year run for the Coastal Carolina University men’s tennis team, which completed an undefeated Big South Conference campaign on Sunday.

Following a 14-6 overall record, and a 5-2 finish in Big South play a season ago, the Chanticleers (12-5 overall, 8-0 BSC) came back as focused as ever in 2013. The hard work has paid off, as CCU clinched the Big South regular season title on and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament with a 5-2 victory over Winthrop.

“I can’t say this is the most talented team that I have ever had as a coach, but this team has the most heart and belief of any I have coached,” said CCU men’s tennis coach Chris Powers.

Following a 4-3 loss at Richmond on March 15, Powers met with the team and talked about the goals that the players wanted to accomplish, and how to achieve those goals. The team has gone 6-0 since that meeting.

“We took a bad loss at Richmond, and I called them in for a meeting. I really hammered them on what it would take for us to reach our goals, and I could tell that a few of them teared up a little,” he added. “We haven’t lost a match since that meeting. We had a few lucky breaks as well which I think has helped. Plus, I think they care about the university and each other.

“Any team that makes a championship run needs that (care and concern) as well. It has been a pleasure to walk the path with these guys. These are a great group of young men who genuinely (work hard and put forth 100 percent effort).”

Sophomore Garik Yedigarian remains undefeated coming from the No. 3 spot for the Chanticleers this season. Junior Ted Nilsson has won six of his eight singles matches – two from the No. 4 spot and three from the No. 5 spot. The team of Nilsson and Yusuke Kusuda has led CCU with five conference doubles victories this season.

The team does bring experience to the courts with three seniors – Kusuda, Matias Di Pasquale and John Karle. With the No. 1 seed and a lot of talent and momentum, this could be a season to remember for the Chants.

“It has been a truly special season in that each of these guys have stepped up in one match or another,” Powers said. “This has been a true team effort. I couldn’t say more about our desire and chemistry as a unit this spring.”

Coastal Carolina 5, Winthrop 2

Singles competition
1. Leo Christofides (COASTAL) def. Dylan Comerford (WU) 3-4, retired
2. Ivar Aramburu (WU) def. Yusuke Kusuda (COASTAL) 5-7, 6-4, retired
3. Garik Yedigarian (COASTAL) def. Juan Pablo Boada (WU) 6-2, 6-4
4. Ted Nilsson (COASTAL) def. Peter Nagovnak (WU) 6-4, 2-6, 6-1
5. Matias Di Pasquale (COASTAL) def. Michael Chen (WU) 0-6, 6-2, 6-2
6. Steven Patrick (WU) def. Hunter Whalen (COASTAL) 6-3, 6-3

Doubles competition
1. Garik Yedigarian/Matias Di Pasquale (COASTAL) def. Dylan Comerford/Peter Nagovnak (WU) 9-8
2. Leo Christofides/John Karle (COASTAL) def. Corey Decandia/Juan Pablo Boada (WU) 9-7
3. Yusuke Kusuda/Ted Nilsson (COASTAL) def. Michael Chen/Steven Patrick (WU) 9-8

Photo by Joel Beachum

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