NORFOLK, Virginia - Third-seededUNCW opened defense of its CAA title in convincing fashion early Friday by cruising past sixth-seeded William & Mary, 4-0, in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Virginia 529 Colonial Athletic Association Men's Tennis Championships at Old Dominion's Folkes-Stevens Tennis Center.
The Seahawks, ranked 42nd nationally by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, won for the seventh time in eight outings to raise their record to 16-5 on the season. The Tribe ended its year with a 10-16 mark.
"I was very pleased with the focus and professionalism we came out with today," said fifth-year UNCW Head Coach Mait DuBois. "William & Mary is a quality team that we have a lot of respect for. They really showed a lot of fight, and I just felt we stayed focused and stayed on our game plan."
UNCW captured the early doubles point with victories at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions. The No. 3 team of Pedro Mol and Kaue Pereira was the first off the court following an 8-1 pounding of Robert Pietrucha and John Banks. Juniors Chris Cooprider and Kosta Blank, ranked 85th by the ITA, then clinched the doubles point by lacing Will Juggins and Anton Andersson, 8-2.
"It was one of our best starts in doubles that we've had all year," DuBois added. "Our No. 1 and No. 3 teams came out very hungry and both jumped out to 7-1 leads quickly. The guys have been looking forward to this tournament all year and it showed in our start today."
Cooprider, from Denver, Colo., staked the Seahawks to a 2-0 lead by beating Ben Guthrie in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1, at No. 2 singles before 93rd-ranked Rafael Aita raced past Andersson, 6-2, 6-2, at the top of the lineup.
Freshman Michael Reilly then delivered the clincher at No. 6 singles with a 6-2, 6-3 mastering of Ilja Orre to put the Seahawks into Saturday's semifinals.
DuBois said: "I was pleased to see Michael (Reilly) clinch the match for us. He has been working hard and has made a lot of strides recently. What a great experience for a freshman in his first CAA tourney match."
Friday's triumph sets up a rematch between the Seahawks and No. 55 Georgia State, which battled back on April 8 in Atlanta. The two teams will square off at 10 a.m. Saturday for the opportunity to play in Sunday's championship match.