No. 1 seed Blue Raiders clinch berth in championship

Defeat No. 4 seed Louisiana, 4-1, in dramatic finish

April 19, 2013 · @MTAthletics

LAFAYETTE, La. - The No. 1 seed Middle Tennessee moved one step closer to a three-peat at the Sun Belt Championships, defeating No. 4 seed Louisiana in dramatic fashion, 4-1 on Friday afternoon at the Cajun Courts.

MT (19-7) will face No. 3 seed Georgia State, which defeated No. 2 seed South Alabama earlier, in the finals on Saturday at 2 p.m.

MT started the match with a dramatic doubles point win, coming from behind in Flight 2 doubles to clinch the point.

Marlon Brand and Yannick Born won their Flight 3 doubles match over Hunter and Yates Johnson, 8-5, but Ben Davis and Victor Cornea could not pull of a comeback in No. 1 doubles.  They fell to Rick de Groot and Jake Wynan, 8-4.

Down to the winner-take-all match, Christoph Lang and David Fox came from behind in their match with Jarred Wynan and Edgar Lopez, tying it, 7-7, then 8-8, before finally clinching in the tie-breaker and the match, 9-8.

For the singles portion, Cornea continued the Blue Raiders momentum with a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Edgar Lopez.

With the team up 2-0, David Fox pushed UL to the brink with his 7-5, 6-3 win against Hunter Johnson in the fifth flight.

From there, UL would bounce back with a victory of its own as Farinola topped Lang, 6-4, 6-2, putting the match at 3-1.

In a match-clinching battle, Born survived a nearly three hour match with Jarred Wynan, outlasting the Ragin' Cajun Flight 6 player, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6.

In the first flight, Davis lost the first set 3-6, then battled back to win the second, 7-6.  Davis trailed de Groot 5-4 when the match ended.

Ettore Zito was in a similar predicament, losing 3-4 in the third set to Jake Wynan when Born won.  Zito had won the first set, 7-5, then lost the second set, 5-7.

Live stats and video for tomorrow's match are available here.


On team's performance...

"I am more proud of this team today with the win over Lafayette then I have been of any team in my life!  They had the entire Lafayette football team at the match, all 80 plus of them and the Head Football Coach yelling at us.  We were being heckled from every direction.  I have never in my 10 plus years of coaching seen an environment like that.  Then, for our team to come out with the win, I cannot say enough about how we handled ourselves.  We were very composed despite what was happening.  I am extremely proud of this team and each one of my players."

On tomorrow's championship match...

"Win or lose tomorrow in the Championship, I am proud of this team and how they handled today.  When we carry ourselves like that, we will walk out of here Champions. If they can handle this, they can handle any rough environment.  Every Blue Raider would have been proud."

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.