ELON, N.C. – Elon University men’s tennis had its 2017 CAA Tournament run come to an end Saturday afternoon, April 22, at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center with a 4-1 loss to William & Mary in the semifinals.
The defeat ends second-seeded Elon’s season at an even 12-12. The Phoenix finished the year with four wins in its last five matches, but couldn’t defeat William & Mary for the second time this year after winning 5-2 back on Feb. 11. The third-seeded Tribe moves on to the CAA title match Sunday with an 11-11 record and will take on No. 1 UNCW at 2 p.m. for the championship.
“It was a tough afternoon for us against a very solid William & Mary team,” said Elon head coach Michael Leonard. “Coming into the semifinals, I think all four teams really thought they could win this tournament and we played a tough match but just couldn’t come up with some momentum swings when we needed them. We faced adversity all year and I’m proud of our guys for consistently overcoming it. We’ll bring just about all of our singles lineup back next year so there’s that to look forward to but we’re heartbroken we couldn’t get our three seniors back into the finals and send them out on top.”
Elon and William & Mary started the afternoon with a back and forth doubles point. The Tribe gained the upper hand early with a 6-2 win at No. 1 but Neal Port and Salvador Mijares evened things with a 6-3 victory over Tristan Bautil and Aidan Talcott at No. 2. At No. 3, Elon trailed 5-4 with Lars de Boer and Addison Appleby serving for the point, but Taylor Foote and Felipe Sarrasague broke the William & Mary duo to even the match at 5-5. Down the stretch, though, the Tribe broke back and held serve to win 7-5 and take a 1-0 lead.
In singles action, Talcott earned a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 1 to make it 2-0 Tribe but Elon cut the lead in half shortly after with Mijares taking a 6-2, 6-3 win over Appleby at No. 3. After Alec Miller picked up William & Mary’s third point of the day with a 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 4, de Boer closed the win with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Jacob Bicknell at No. 6. Bicknell battled all afternoon and even won a lengthy rally on match point to keep the Phoenix alive and cut the game to 30-40, but de Boer finished it off on the next point and sent the Tribe to the title match.
– In three CAA Tournaments, Elon has reached the semifinals all three occasions. The Phoenix has now reached the semifinals of its conference tournament each of the last five years, winning the Southern Conference title in 2014.
– Neal Port and Salvador Mijares end the spring season with a 14-2 record in doubles together and on a 13-match winning streak.
– Mario Paccini held off Christian Cargill in the first set, 7-5, and led 5-4 in the second set before William & Mary clinched the win. At No. 5, Felipe Osses-Konig was up a set after winning a tiebreaker and finished leading 7-6 (1), 1-2.
– Elon is set to return five of the six players in its singles lineup that played in the CAA Tournament.