Apr 27, 2014 6:25 PM by Bill Halter
For the second time in three years the Cal Poly men's tennis team won the Big West Conference Tournament and will advance to the NCAA Tournament. The Mustangs beat Hawai'i, 4-1 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden to secure their third National Tournament berth in four years.
Cal Poly was winning 3-1 when junior Naveen Beasley finished off a 7-5, 6-3 win over Pavel Liska. That gave the Mustangs the 4 points needed to win and Corey Pang's match was stopped. The Mustang freshman led his third set 5-2 against Danilo Casanova 5-2 (after going 6-4, 1-6).
Cal Poly lost 6-1 to the Rainbow Warriors in Honolulu on March 24. This time, the meeting between the top two seeds was different from the onset.
Seniors Marco Comuzzo and Matt Thomson rebounded from an early 2-1 hole against Nils Schuhmann and David Schuster to eventually win 8-4 at number-1 doubles.
Then senior Jurgen De Jager and freshman Ben Donovan took the point at number-3, rallying from a 6-5 deficit by claiming the next three games versus Chas Okamoto and Marcel Chan.
After Hawai'i evened it at 1-al in singles, Cal Poly got back in front where De Jager - now a team-best 15-3 this spring - sidelined Okamoto 7-5, 6-0. (In the first of those sets, he trailed 1-2, 3-4 and 4-5 before closing emphatically.)
Afterward, Donovan (now 17-10 overall) won 6-1, 7-5 at number-1 singles. In fighting back from being down 4-5 in the latter, he set up Beasley's dramatic championship-point scenario about three hours and 25 minutes after the morning's first serve.
Cal Poly (11-12 overall) will wait until 2:00 p.m. Tuesday to learn its first-round opponent during the NCAA.com Selection Show.
The NCAA Tournament's opening rounds will be held May 9-11 at sites yet to be announced.
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