Phoenix men complete miraculous comeback, claim MSC regular season title
Monday, April 15, 2019
Phoenix men complete miraculous comeback, claim MSC regular season title
Axel Lucich won the deciding match at No. 5 singles in CU's 5-4 win Monday against Lindsey Wilson. (Credit Bob Tamboli)

LEBANON, Tenn. – Sixteenth-ranked Cumberland men’s tennis lost all three doubles and the first completed singles match, but the Phoenix rallied for five consecutive singles wins to close out the match and earn a share of the Mid-South Conference regular season championship with a 5-4 victory over No. 13 Lindsey Wilson on Monday at the Tommy Gray Memorial Courts.

The Phoenix (12-5, 5-1 Mid-South) won their fifth straight match and have posted 10 victories in the last 12 outings since March 12 after a 2-5 start to the campaign.

The Blue Raiders (7-6, 5-1) started with three doubles wins, as Javier Raya and Camilo Erazo defeated 22nd-ranked Pau Grabuleda Cruañas and Alejo Bagnera, 8-2, at No. 1 and Xavier Vicent and Santiago Diaz claimed an 8-4 decision at No. 2 versus Thiago Lopes and Francisco Fernandez Meaca.

LWC’s Tiago Almeida and Nicolas Garcia outlasted Axel Lucich and Ramon Puertolas, 7-4, in a tiebreaker at No. 3.

Erazo, ranked 30th nationally in singles, put the Blue Raiders ahead, 4-0, in the match with a 6-0, 6-1, victory against Grabuleda Cruañas at No. 1, but Bagnera’s upset of 41st-ranked Almeida, 6-3, 6-3, at No. 2 started the comeback for Cumberland.

Fernandez Meaca posted another victory with a 6-4, 6-3, win at No. 4 against Garcia and Puertolas overcame an early deficit, coming back for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, triumph at No. 3 over Vicent, pulling the Phoenix within 4-3 in the match.

The final two matches on the court featured two seniors for Cumberland and they did not disappoint in their final home outing. Lopes collected a 6-3, 6-4, win at No. 6 versus Steven Espinoza, evening the match at four.

Lucich was down a set but found a way to even the match in a tiebreaker in the second set before running away at the end, recording a 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-0, victory at No. 5 again Diaz for the deciding point.

#16 Cumberland University 5, #13 Lindsey Wilson 4

1. #30 Camilo Erazo (LWC) def. Pau Grabuleda Cruañas (CU), 6-0, 6-1
2. Alejo Bagnera (CU) def. #41 Tiago Almeida (LWC), 6-3, 6-3
3. Ramon Puertolas (CU) def. Xavier Vicent (LWC), 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
4. Francisco Fernandez Meaca (CU) def. Nicolas Garcia (LWC), 6-4, 6-3
5. Axel Lucich (CU) def. Santiago Diaz (LWC), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-0
6. Thiago Lopes (CU) def. Steven Espinoza (LWC), 6-3, 6-4

1. Javier Raya-Erazo (LWC) def. #22 Grabuleda Cruañas-Bagnera (CU), 8-2
2. Diaz-Vicent (LWC) def. Lopes-Fernandez Meaca (CU), 8-4
3. Garcia-Almeida (LWC) def. Lucich-Puertolas (CU), 9-8 (4)
Order of Finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (1,2,4,3,6,5)