Two schools separated by more than 1,200 miles, Northwest Missouri State and Concordia (N.Y) meet for the first time in either program's history today at 8 a.m. in the Round of 16 stage of the NCAA Division II Men's Tennis Tournament from Surprise, Ariz.
Both teams have won exactly 20 matches and enter their first-ever encounter on double-digit win streaks.
They are also led by head coaches in Mark Rosewell (Northwest) and Neal Tarangioli (Concordia N.Y.) who have been at their respective schools at least 30 years.
The MIAA champion Bearcats are making their first appearance at the NCAA Championships since 2007. Ranked No. 24 in the nation, Northwest is 20-3 overall and has won its last 13 matches. The Bearcats beat Washburn 5-1 in the Central Region 2 Final to get to this point.
A perennial powerhouse, Concordia (N.Y) is back in the Round of 16 for the seventh consecutive year. The Clippers lost to Grand Canyon (Ariz.) 5-4 at this juncture of the tournament last year. Two years ago, they reached the semifinals and in 2010 they made it to the national championship match.
The Clippers (20-2) are ranked No. 6 in the nation. They have won their last 15 matches and none have been close. That includes a 6-0 win over Queens (N.Y) in the East Regional 1 Final.
Concordia's only two regular season losses came against current No. 2 Armstrong and No. 3 West Florida.
No one in the Clipper singles lineup has more than four losses and their collective record is 100-17. The Clippers three main doubles teams are 15-4, 18-3 and 13-1.
Similarly, all six players in Northwest's singles lineup have at least 16 wins and three are on double-digit win streaks. Northwest's No. 1 doubles team of Lluis Altimeres and freshman Sergio de Vilchez is 25-5 and has won 10 straight matches. The Bearcats' most recently used No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams are a combined 16-3.
Altimeres and DeVilchez will be opposed by Concordia's Andrey Boldarev and Daniele Piludu (18-3).
Boldarev is the No. 8-ranked doubles player in the nation and the No. 10 singles player. Piludu is ranked No. 14 in singles.
At No. 2 doubles, it will be Northwest's Alvaro Riveros/Guilherme Narducci (9-2) versus Concordia's Tomasz Olfans/Benas Majauska (15-4). Riveros and Narducci lost their last match in a tiebreak against Washburn.
The No. 3 doubles match pits Northwest's Rafael Bugiga/Dylan Bernatzky (7-1) against Concordia's David Tisserand/Andreas Lindell (13-1). Lindell and Tisserand are on a 12-match win streak.
DeVilchez (22-6) and Boldarev (14-3) will match up at No. 1 singles.
The rest of the pairings are as follows: Bugiga (20-8) vs. Piludu (15-2) at No. 2; Altimeres (16-5) vs Olfans (10-4) at No. 3.; Riveros (19-2) vs. Majauskas (17-2) at No. 4; Narducci (18-5) vs. Andreas Lindell (10-1) at No. 5; and Jason Harris (21-4) vs. Juuso Ojanen (14-1) at No. 6.
Page 2 of 2 - The first team to five match wins advances to Thursday's quarterfinals to take on the winner of Cameron/Lander.