Click Here For Video Of Clinching Point
Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's tennis squad advanced to the NCAA Division II Final Four for the first time in school history as the Bulldogs knocked off nationally 14th-ranked Midwestern State (Texas) in the elite eight on Thursday (May 19) at the Gates Tennis Center in Denver, Colo.
The Bulldogs built a 2-1 lead following doubles play and then captured three of the first four completed singles positions to become only the third Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) team ever to reach the national semifinals. The Bulldogs also won their school-record 25th match of the year.
With the win, Ferris State will next face third-ranked Hawaii Pacific in the national semifinals on Friday (May 20) starting at 3 p.m. (ET) in the Mile High City as part of the Division II Sports Festival. The other side of the bracket pits Armstrong Atlantic State against Saint Leo (Fla.) with the two winners squaring off in the national championship match on Saturday (May 21) in Denver.
Ferris State posted its fourth-straight win in the national tournament and the second in as many days in Denver following Wednesday's Sweet Sixteen triumph over nationally 17th-ranked Concordia. While the Bulldogs had to pull out a thrilling 5-4 win in the victory over the Clippers, they controlled action in Thursday's victory over Midwestern State.
In the national quarterfinal victory, the Bulldogs claimed two of the three doubles positions with the number one tandem of Vasil Surduk and Nur Adim Ramdani Isawn upsetting the nation's 22nd-ranked pairing of Kyle Davidson and Ramon Toyos by an 8-5 score. In addition, the third doubles team of Steward Sell and Conner Hunt were 8-6 winners against Benjamin Neander and Chris Norrie.
In singles play, freshman Till von Winning beat the nation's 47th-ranked player in Toyos in straight-sets by a 6-4, 6-1 score at the number two flight in the lineup. Iswan pulled out a 6-1, 7-6 victory at the third flight and Daniil Tarantinov scored a 6-4, 6-3 win at the fifth position to account for the three Bulldog wins in singles action.
Prior to the two wins the last two days, the Bulldogs previously punched their ticket to Denver by capturing one of two Midwest Regional bracket titles with a thrilling 5-3 victory over West Michigan rival Grand Valley State last Tuesday (May 10) at the FSU Racquet and Fitness Center in Big Rapids.
Ferris State, which is making its 20th all-time NCAA Tournament bid, advanced to the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament for the 10th time in school history, but the first time since 2005. FSU had not advanced to the Elite Eight since 2004 when FSU beat Kutztown (Pa.) 5-2 in the round of 16 in the first-ever Division II Festival and this season's semifinal berth is the first in school history. The Bulldogs' highest finish in school history prior to this year was a fifth-place national showing in 1988.
FSU's 25 wins to date this year are a new school single-season record, surpassing the 23 wins posted during the 1999 campaign.
Along with capturing the Midwest Regional crown and reaching the national semifinals to date, Ferris State also won the GLIAC's outright regular-season title this season for the second-straight year. The 2016 campaign represented the first-time ever in which FSU had won both the GLIAC Regular-Season & Tournament Championships in the same year since the tournament moved to its current dual team format.
This year also marked the first time in which Ferris State claimed the GLIAC Tournament Championship since 2012. It was also only the second league postseason crown in the last 16 years as the 2012 crown was FSU's first since 1999.
With this year's championships, the men's tennis squad became the fifth FSU team to win a conference title this season, joining football, volleyball, men's basketball and hockey teams. The squad is also the fourth of the group to repeat as back-to-back champions this year in the regular-season and the fourth to claim a league postseason tournament crown.
The 2016 Division II National Championships Festival marks the ninth occurrence of the distinctive Division II event, and is being hosted by Metro State University-Denver and the Denver Sports Commission this week. A total of 76 qualifying teams and 20 qualifying individuals are representing their institutions by competing for national championships in men's and women's golf, women's lacrosse, softball, and men's and women's tennis.
Division II is the only NCAA division that conducts "National Championships Festivals," an Olympic-style event in which a number of national championships are held at a single site over several days.
The goals of the festival are to enhance the student-athlete experience, create more awareness and exposure for Division II sports, and increase attendance by hosting multiple championships in one location. Each festival features opening and closing ceremonies, social opportunities for student-athletes, and community-outreach events. Student-athletes are housed in centrally located hotels, allowing for an athlete-village atmosphere.
Below are the complete match results:
#35 Ferris State 5, #14 Midwestern State 2
1. #40 Kyle Davidson (MSU) def. Vasil Surduk (FS) 6-2, 7-6 (10-8)
2. Till von Winning (FS) def. #47 Ramon Toyos (MSU) 6-4, 6-1
3. Nur Adim Ramdani I. (FS) def. Chris Norrie (MSU) 6-1, 7-6 (7-2)
4. Dillon Pineda (MSU) vs. Steward Sell (FS) 7-5, 3-6, unfinished
5. Daniil Tarantinov (FS) def. Benjamin Neander (MSU) 6-4, 6-3
6. Dylan Hall (MSU) vs. Simon Levy (FS) 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 0-1, unfinished
1. Vasil Surduk/Nur Adim Ramdani I. (FS) def. #22 Kyle Davidson/Ramon Toyos (MSU) 8-5
2. Dillon Pineda/Zack Santagate (MSU) def. Daniil Tarantinov/Till von Winning (FS) 8-6
3. Conner Hunt/Steward Sell (FS) def. Benjamin Neander/Chris Norrie (MSU) 8-6
FINAL FOUR! Ferris State Tennis Reaches National Semifinals For First-Time Ever
Click Here For Video Of Clinching Point