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Blue Raiders win SBC Championship with 4-1 win over FAU

Peers named Most Outstanding Performer

April 19, 2009 · MT Athletic Communications
DENTON, Texas - Sophomore John Peers was named Most Outstanding Performer at the Sun Belt Championships as the Blue Raiders defeated Florida Atlantic 4-1 in the championship match.

Peers did not lose a match, either singles or doubles, in the Sun Belt Championships as he helped guide the team throughout the weekend. Peers teamed with junior Victor Melo to clinch the doubles point for Middle Tennessee against the Owls.

The pair, ranked 57th in the ITA poll, posted an 8-6 win over Eddie Majcher and Marc Abdelnour. Then Peers defeated Daniel Vardag 6-1, 6-2 to open singles play and put the Blue Raiders up 2-0.

"I am extremely proud of the guys after an emotional match last night to come back 12 hours later an get job done. I am very proud of John. He and Robert have led team all year. John was 6-0 in the tournament in singles and doubles and just did an outstanding job this weekend," head coach David McNamara said.

FAU won No. 6 singles but Middle Tennessee did not let them take over as freshman Matthew Langley won his match 6-2, 6-0 over Majcher making it 3-1. Then senior Richard Morgan put the match away for Middle Tennessee as he defeated Joshua Scholl 6-2, 7-5.

"Matthew Langley, who has been injured most of the season performed very well and for Morgan to clinch the championship match for us, was very special," McNamara said. "It is very exciting and we are especially proud of the guys who faced adversity during the season because of injury. Our athletic trainer Adam Lewis put in many hours to help get these guys ready to play. Victor and Matthew have been hurt much of the season and without Adam's hard work in the training room we may not have had them for the tournament which could have resulted in a very different outcome."

After defeating Denver 4-3 on a three-set battle by Melo just 12 hours before taking the courts again the Blue Raiders won each match against the Owls in straight sets.

"We came to the tournament as favorites especially after winning the Sun Belt Shootout a coupe of weeks ago. There were a few teams gunning for us and it especially showed against Denver yesterday," McNamara said. "The real challenge was to come back this morning after a short rest to play FAU. They thought they had us in the doubles and fortunately we cam back. It sets the scene for us looking ahead to the NCAA tournament."

The Blue Raiders have earned an automatic bid to the NCAA team tournament which begins the weekend of May 8-10. Check goblueraiders.com for information on the NCAA Tennis Tournament Selection show and who the Blue Raiders will be facing in their first NCAA team tournament since 2006.

"We are going to work as hard as possible to prepare for the NCAAs and make sure we are a force in the tournament once play begins," McNamara said.

Singles
1. #96 Robert McKenzie (MT) vs. #120 Marc Abdelnour (FAU) 6-1, 2-6, 3-0, unfinished
2. #104 John Peers (MT) def. Daniel Vardag (FAU) 6-1, 6-2
3. Victor Melo (MT) vs. Lawrence Harradine (FAU) 6-1, 3-5, unfinished
4. Morgan Richard (MT) def. Joshua Scholl (FAU) 6-2, 7-5
5. Matthew Langley (MT) def. Eddie Majcher (FAU) 6-2, 6-0
6. Santiago Nieto (FAU) def. Kyle Wishing (MT) 6-2, 6-3

Doubles
1. #57 Victor Melo/John Peers (MT) def. Eddie Majcher/Marc Abdelnour (FAU) 8-6
2. Robert McKenzie/Morgan Richard (MT) def. Daniel Vardag/Joshua Scholl (FAU) 8-3
3. Lawrence Harradine/Santiago Nieto (FAU) def. Kyle Wishing/Matthew Langley (MT) 8-3

Match Notes:
Florida Atlantic 16-7; National ranking #80
Middle Tennessee 16-8; National ranking #60
Sun Belt Conference Tournament Finals
Order of finish: Doubles: 2, 3, 1 ... Singles: 2, 6, 5, 4, (1, 3 uf)
T-2:30

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