MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - The race to five was on as the Regional Finals match pitted two Peach Belt Conference (PBC) opponents against each other, as No. 7 Georgia College & State University (18-3) squared off against No. 8 Columbus State University (17-6). The Bobcats were able to defeat the Cougars 5-0.
The Bobcats jumped off to a quick 3-0 lead in doubles as the number three doubles team, Max Beliankou (Minsk, Belarus) and Robert Angelucci (Acworth, Ga.), set the tone defeating their opponents, Nemanja Djuric and Diego Motivar 8-3.
Both first and second doubles saw eerily similar results as both units won 8-5. The No. 2 duo of Justin Pickham (Armidale, Australia) and Erick Siqueira (Sao Paulo, Brazil) beat the No. 8 twosome of Frank Suarez and Luis Gonzalez. The Sao Paulo twosome of Joao Casagrande and Francis Yoshimoto defeated Dimitri Caron and Paul van Rensburg.
The Cougars found themselves in a deep hole as the Bobcats only needed to win two singles matches to advance to the NCAA Finals in Altamonte Springs, Fla.
The Bobcats were able to take victories at third and fifth singles. Yoshimoto won 6-1, 6-4 against Djuric at the third slot.
"This means a lot to me," Yoshimoto stated. "This most likely is my last year playing tennis."
Georgia College was able to win the regional as Leo Bernardes (Sao Paulo, Brazil) defeated van Rensburg 6-2, 7-5 at fifth singles.
"This is a really special occasion for me," said senior Siqueira. "I've been here four years and never been to Nationals. I hope this motivates our team to compete well in Florida."
"I was a little worried after losing Giovane Nucci (Santa Catarina, Brazil)", Pickham said. "But losing today would have been a big disappointment. I come from a Junior College where going to Nationals is expected every year, but going here (at GCSU) is even bigger."
The Bobcats advance to take on No. 14 Abilene Christian University (26-7), Wednesday, May 13 in Altamonte Springs, Fla. The Wildcats are tied for the most wins of any team in the 16-team field, beating Washburn University 5-0 in their final.
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