NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The Salisbury University men's team followed the example set by the women's team and defeated a team that they had been bested by in the regular season to advance to the Capital Athletic Conference championship. The Sea Gulls claimed a 6-3 victory Wednesday afternoon over Christopher Newport University in the CAC semifinals at the CNU Courts.
The win extends the Sea Gulls' winning streak to four while snapping Christopher Newport's five-match winning streak. Salisbury came into the match ranked No. 19 in the Atlantic South region and Christopher Newport No. 9.
Salisbury (13-4) jumped out to an early advantage, taking a 2-1 lead after doubles play. The Sea Gulls' top team, junior Daniel Albers and sophomore Eric Spangler, gutted out a 9-8 (7-3) win over the 12th-ranked team in the Atlantic South region, Steven Boslet and Sam Thomson. Albers and Spangler, the No. 8 team in the region, remain unbeaten so far this season with a 16-0 mark.
Salisbury would pick up singles victories from the top three spots in the lineup and the No. 6 matchup. The No. 3 and No. 6 matches went to a third set, with the outcome swinging the contest the way of the Sea Gulls.
Albers picked up a 6-4, 6-1 victory from the No. 1 singles slot. His doubles partner, Spangler, picked up his second point of the match as well with a victory that saw both sets decided by a 6-4 score in the No. 2 position.
Vrahnos dropped the first set of the No. 3 matchup but would rally to win his contest. Each set was decided by a 6-2 score, with Thomson taking the first set before succumbing to Vrahnos.
Salisbury picked up a hard-fought victory from the No. 6 position, with Shanon Gunther needing three sets and extra games. Gunther won the first set 7-6, taking the tiebreaker 7-1. Joona Rahko took the second set 6-4, with Gunther taking the deciding set by the same score.
The Captains picked up wins in the No. 4 and No. 5 matchups. Shane Gunther dropped the No. 4 match 6-2, 6-2, while McGaffney dropped the match one spot down in the lineup 6-0, 7-5.
The Sea Gulls will take on the University of Mary Washington in the CAC Championship this Saturday, April 26 with the time to be determined. The Eagles are 14-time defending CAC champions, with either Salisbury or Mary Washington taking the conference crown in every year since 1991. That streak will continue, with the Sea Gulls looking to bring the crown back to the Eastern Shore for the first time since 1999.