anticipation was high and the taste of victory close for Union
University's Men's Tennis team. With four consecutive wins in
addition to the TranSouth regular season and tournament
titles, and their first NAIA Region XI Championship, Head
Coach Gary Johnson's No. 9 ranked squad was poised to make a
legitimate run at the national title in Lexington, Ky., during
the recent national championships held there.
Opening the national tournament with a 5-1 victory over Walsh
University of Ohio, Union cruised through the first round
match winning three singles matches and two of three doubles
matches. Jonathan Labella, Mario Cobo, and Balazs Tili each
won their singles matches in straight sets. In doubles,
Union's Tili and Leandro Carvalho along with Brandon James and
Phillippe Sylvestra picked up wins against Walsh.
Awaiting Union in the second round was the No. 2 seed in the
tournament, Georgia Southwestern State University. Union
battled tough by winning three of the five singles matches,
getting victories from Labella and Tili. However, in doubles,
Georgia Southwestern swept all three matches, improving their
record to 25-5, while the Bulldogs finished the season with a
Tili, a Union senior playing his last collegiate tennis match
against Georgia Southwestern, recorded his 100th career
victory, the first Union player to pick up 100 wins in a
career. "We were hoping his (Tili) match would end in time,"
said Coach Johnson. "Another match was getting close to
giving Georgia Southwestern the fifth and deciding point, but
luckily, he got the win." Tili's overall career record is
100-11, including a perfect 28-0 record his junior season.
Union hopes to secure a few spots on the NAIA All-American
team announced later this summer, particularly for senior
Mario Cobo, according to Johnson. Should Cobo receive the
honor this season, he will be the only athlete in Union
history to be a four-year NAIA All-American.
Johnson, recently named TranSouth Conference Coach of the
Year, said he was proud of how the team handled Georgia
Southwestern. "We played the No. 2 seed very tough and
had a chance to beat them. We've signed some new guys that can
build on this season and hopefully make another run next
season," said Johnson.