LaGrange, Ga. - The men's tennis team of North Carolina Wesleyan claimed its ninth straight USA South Tournament crown on Saturday afternoon, downing the East Division's #2 seed Averett University by a 6-3 score at the McCluskey Tennis Center in LaGrange. With the victory, the Battling Bishops run their win streak versus USA South opponents to 90 matches dating back to 2009 and up their season record to 19-4 overall, which sets a new program record for wins in a season.
Singles play saw sophomore J.D. Telles pull the Bishops even with a 6-1, 6-0 win over James Wright at the #3 slot, while Richard Gende made it 3-2 with a 6-0, 6-0 victory at #6. Back-to-back straight-set wins for David Appelqvist and David Chang at #4 and #5 clinched the title for Wesleyan, with Sikh garnering Most Valuable Player accolades after claiming a 3-set win at the top seed (4-6, 6-3, 6-1) to close out the match. The Cougars (12-5) notched their lone singles point by retirement at the #2 position.
Wesleyan reached Saturday's title match via a 9-0 sweep of #3 Methodist University. The Bishops swept doubles play before posting straight-set wins in five of six singles matches.
Sikh's MVP award was his second straight after going undefeated at both #1 singles and #1 doubles. Joining him on the All-Tournament team were Appelqvist, Telles, and Chang.
The championship win gives N.C. Wesleyan the USA South's automatic bic to the NCAA Tournament. Currently ranked #30 in the nation, the Bishops will await seeding and opponents for regional play in early May.