Jan. 30, 2012
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ATLANTA - Auburn senior Alex Stamchev broke the school record for career doubles wins and provided the clinching point as the 20th-ranked Auburn men's tennis team defeated 18th-ranked North Carolina on Monday, 4-1, in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend Championship Match at Georgia Tech's Bill Moore Tennis Center.
With the win, the Tigers (4-0) will advance to the ITA National Indoor Team Championships for the first time in program history. The tournament runs Feb. 17-20 in Charlottesville, Va.
"We came out and played very well in doubles today," Auburn head coach Eric Shore said. "We've got three balanced teams this year so far, and we showed that today. In singles we got down early, North Carolina fought back and won four first sets. But we just dug deep, and hats off to the team as a whole for fighting back and ultimately winning the match."
Stamchev, a senior from Pleven, Bulgaria, teamed with sophomore Daniel Cochrane to win at No. 1 singles over Brennan Boyajian and Oystein Steiro, 8-5, to clinch the doubles point for the Tigers. It was the 97th doubles victory of his career, which surpasses Auburn great Stephen Huss - the 2005 Wimbledon doubles champion - for the school record.
It was fitting, then, that Stamchev also provide the Tigers' clinching point in singles to send Auburn to the ITA Indoor Nationals for the first time. Playing at the No. 2 position, he defeated Boyajian in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3, to give Auburn its fourth point and put the match away.
"What do you say? He's the star of the day," Shore said. "He sets the all-time record over a guy that is a legend in Auburn tennis, then clinches the match to send us to the Indoors for the first time ever. I can't say enough about our senior captain."
Stamchev now has a 14-2 overall record in doubles this season, including an 8-1 mark with Cochrane. He also improves to 10-4 in singles with a perfect 4-0 mark in dual-match competition, all at the No. 2 position.
The No. 2 doubles pairing of Andreas Mies and Lukas Ollert helped set up the Stamchev-Cochrane clincher with an 8-4 win over Joey Burkhardt and Esben Hess-Olesen. Dennis Lengsfeld and Lucas Lopasso were leading 6-3 in their match at No. 3 doubles when it was suspended after the Tigers clinched the point.
Lopasso gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead with a 6-1, 6-2 win over North Carolina's 103rd-ranked William Parker at the No. 6 spot. But the Tar Heels would cut into the deficit as Burkhardt downed Lengsfeld at No. 4 singles, 6-2, 6-3.
After dropping the first set, Ollert rallied for a win over Steiro at the fifth singles spot, putting Auburn ahead 3-1 with a 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 triumph. It was just a few moments later that Stamchev earned the clinching point with his win at No. 2 singles.
No. 18-ranked Mies was in the third set with 30th-ranked Jose Hernandez when their match was suspended, and Cochrane was trailing in the second set of his match with Hess-Olesen when Stamchev clinched.
With results from three sites still incomplete, the Tigers are the only non-host team to advance from a regional to the ITA National Indoors. Auburn was the No. 4 seed in the Georgia Tech regional. Pairings for the event, as well as potential changes to the Auburn dual match schedule, will be announced at a later date.
The Tigers will next be in action Friday, Feb. 10, as they host Southern Miss at 2 p.m. at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.
Auburn Men's Tennis Results
January 30, 2012
Bill Moore Tennis Center - Atlanta, Ga.
No. 20 Auburn 4, No. 18 North Carolina 1
1. #30 Jose Hernandez (NC) vs. #18 Andreas Mies (AU), 6-4, 4-6, 0-2 unf.
2. Alex Stamchev (AU) def. Brennan Boyajian (NC), 7-5, 6-3
3. Esben Hess-Olesen (NC) vs. Daniel Cochrane (AU), 6-4, 4-2 unf.
4. Joey Burkhardt (NC) def. Dennis Lengsfeld (AU), 6-2, 6-3
5. Lukas Ollert (AU) def. Oystein Steiro (NC), 2-6, 6-1, 6-2
6. Lucas Lopasso (AU) def. #103 William Parker (NC), 6-1, 6-2
Order of finish: 6, 4, 5, 2
1. Alex Stamchev/Daniel Cochrane (AU) def. Brennan Boyajian/Oystein Steiro (UNC), 8-5
2. Andreas Mies/Lukas Ollert (AU) def. Joey Burkhardt/Esben Hess-Olesen (UNC), 8-4
3. Dennis Lengsfeld/Lucas Lopasso (AU) vs. Jose Hernandez/Zach Hunter (UNC), 6-3 unf.
Order of finish: 2, 1
Auburn 4-0, National ranking #20
North Carolina 2-2, National ranking #18
ITA Kick-Off Weekend Championship Match