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Men's Tennis - Sat. Apr. 21, 2012
MONTGOMERY, Ala. ----- Freshman Nicolas Pinones-Haltenhoff broke a 4-4 tie with a victory at the No. 1 singles position, as the No. 5 Auburn University at Montgomery men's tennis team earned its eighth consecutive Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament Championship with a 5-4 victory over No. 11 William Carey Saturday at the O'Connor Tennis Center.

With the win, the Warhawks improved to 16-7 on the season and extended their winning streak to six matches.

AUM trailed following the doubles portion of the match, as only the freshman duo of Marlu Jansen Van Vuuren and Matias Dasso were victorious, winning 8-6 at the No. 3 position.

Despite the deficit, the Warhawks chipped away and eventually evened the match at 4-4, setting the stage for the top singles showdown.

Sophomore Zinelabidine Jouini pulled AUM to within one with a 6-2, 6-0 victory at the No. 5 positions, before junior Bence Toth added a 6-2, 6-1 win at the No. 2 spot.

After losses at the No. 3 and No. 6 positions gave the Crusaders (15-4) an opportunity to clinch the match, Jansen Van Vuuren battled an illness and outlasted Marthinius Visser at the No. 4 position, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, to knot the match at four wins each.

For the second time this season, Pinones-Haltenhoff squared off with Jody Claasen, the sixth-ranked singles player in the NAIA according to the ITA, with both matches ending with a similar result. The Barcelona, Spain, native took the opening set by a score of 6-4, before sealing the match with a 7-6 win in the second set.

Following the match, the SSAC announced its all-conference teams and postseason award winners.

Pinones-Haltenhoff was selected the league's Player and Freshman of the Year, while also earning first-team all-conference honors in both singles and doubles, where he teamed with Jouini.

Also earning first-team honors were Toth, Jansen Van Vuuren, Jouini and Josh Reason. Dasso was named to the all-conference second team.

Head coach Rolando Vargas was also named the conference Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.

As a result of the victory, the Warhawks earned the SSAC's automatic berth to the NAIA Men's Tennis Championship Tournament, held May 15-19 in Mobile, Ala. AUM's opponent has yet to be determined.


Complete Results

1. #7 Thomas Rizk/Jody Claasen (WCU) def. Bence Toth/Josh Reason (AUMM) 8-3

2. #25 Ricky Keppeler/Marthinius Visser (WCU) def. N.Pinones-Haltenhoff/Zinelabidine Jouini (AUMM) 8-4

3. M. Jansen Van Vuuren/Matias Dasso (AUMM) def. Robin Semal/Alvar Ribalta (WCU) 8-6


1. #7 N.Pinones-Haltenhoff (AUMM) def. #6 Jody Claasen (WCU) 6-4, 7-6

2. #16 Bence Toth (AUMM) def. #22 Ricky Keppeler (WCU) 6-2, 6-1

3. #44 Thomas Rizk (WCU) def. Josh Reason (AUMM) 6-3, 7-5

4. M. Jansen Van Vuuren (AUMM) def. Marthinius Visser (WCU) 6-2, 4-6, 6-4

5. Zinelabidine Jouini (AUMM) def. Younes Hidass (WCU) 6-2, 6-0

6. Robin Semal (WCU) def. Matias Dasso (AUMM) 6-3, 6-2