Men's Tennis Upsets No. 2 UNC Asheville to Advance at Big South Championship
The result marks the first time a No. 7 seed has beaten a No. 2 seed in the Big South Championship since the League moved to the current format in 1994. The win also gives PC its first Big South postseason victory in any sport.
The Blue Hose will face the winner of Thursday night's No. 3 Coastal Carolina and No. 6 Liberty match tomorrow at 1 p.m.
UNC Asheville ends its season at 13-10. PC improves to 12-15.
With the dual match tied at 3-3, all attention turned to the fifth flight match between PC's Sprouse and UNC Asheville's Ryan Matthews. After dropping the first set, 6-4, Sprouse trailed the Bulldog in the second set, 6-5. Sprouse rallied to force a tiebreaker and edged Matthews to force a third set by winning the tiebreaker, 7-4.
Both players favored booming forehands from the baseline and Sprouse wore down Matthews to take the first three games. Matthews cut Sprouse's lead to 3-1 with a fourth game win, but Sprouse held strong to win the match, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1.
PC took the doubles point and grabbed an early lead. Asheville evened the tally in singles play thanks to a Matt Waissen second-flight win over Rafael Berghaus (Offenbach, Germany), 6-2, 6-1.
The Blue Hose found a third-flight win from William O'Connell (Nadi, Fiji). The junior dispatched Jonas Brobeck by a 6-1, 6-3 margin.
PC grabbed another decisive win at the sixth flight, as Gonzalo Asis (Madrid, Spain) handled John Schubel, 6-4, 6-3.
Asheville continued to fight, however, as Adrien Langeard took down Grayson Mills (Lilburn, Ga.) at the top flight, 7-5, 6-3.
With PC one win away from victory, Asheville's Thomas Rees recovered from a 6-3 opening set loss to Andrew Brigham (Birmingham, England) at No. 4. Reese edged Brigham in a second-set tiebreaker, 7-6 (7-5) before pulling out a third set win, 6-4.
The Bulldog win tied the match and put the decision at the fifth flight, setting up Sprouse's heroics for the upset.
The Blue Hose raced to fast start, clipping the Bulldogs in doubles play to take an early 1-0 lead. Berghaus and Mills put PC ahead with a convincing 8-5 first-flight win over Brobeck and Waissen.
After a tough 9-7 loss at No. 3 as Nathan Crocker (Clinton, S.C.) and Edward Snead IV (Greenwood, S.C.) fell to Schubel and Pete Conaty, PC sealed the point when Brigham and O'Connell finished off Langeard and Rees, 8-5.
1. LANGEARD, Adrien (ASH) def. MILLS, Grayson (PCM) 7-5, 6-3
2. WAISSEN, Matt (ASH) def. BERGHAUS, Rafael (PCM) 6-2, 6-1
3. O'CONNELL, William (PCM) def. BROBECK, Jonas (ASH) 6-1, 6-3
4. REES, Thomas (ASH) def. BRIGHAM, Andrew (PCM) 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4
5. SPROUSE, Zachary (PCM) def. MATTHEWS, Ryan (ASH) 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1
6. ASIS, Gonzalo (PCM) def. SCHUBEL, John (ASH) 6-4, 6-3
1. BERGHAUS, Rafael/MILLS, Grayson (PCM) def. BROBECK, Jonas/WAISSEN, Matt (ASH) 8-5
2. BRIGHAM, Andrew/O'CONNELL, William (PCM) def. LANGEARD, Adrien/REES, Thomas (ASH) 8-5
3. SCHUBEL, John/CONATY, Pete (ASH) def. CROCKER, Nathan/SNEAD, Edward (PCM) 9-7