Men’s tennis wins SoCon title, qualifies for NCAA tournament

The Phoenix men's tennis team won the 2007 Southern Conference championship Sunday, April 22, scoring a 4-1 win over College of Charleston in the final match of the league tournament. The win qualified Elon (23-2) for an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Details...

Dalodom, Gustaf Asplund and co-captain Austin Fenn all emerged
victorious in both singles and doubles play as top-seeded Elon knocked
off second-seeded College of Charleston 4-1 in the final of the 2007
Southern Conference Men’s Tennis Championship Sunday afternoon at the
Earle Tennis Center on The Citadel campus.

With the victory, the Phoenix gave Elon its first Southern
Conference tournament title and automatic NCAA tournament bid in any
sport since officially joining league competition four years ago. The
Phoenix will now advance to the NCAA Regionals, held May 11-13 on 16
campus sites throughout the country. Elon will learn of its regional
site, opponent and schedule May 1 when the tournament field is

The Phoenix entered SoCon tournament action ranked No. 44 nationally in
the weekly FILA Collegiate NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Rankings while
the Cougars (18-2) came in at No. 57. Both of College of Charleston’s
losses this season were to Elon.

Dalodom and Fenn finished off Omer Abramovich and Perry Allen 8-3 at
No. 2 doubles while Asplund and Kevin Colin bested Jimmy Petit and
Justin Malina 8-4 at No. 3 to secure the doubles point for the Phoenix.
Elon’s Damon Gooch and Mason Schermerhorn were trailing Or Dekel and
Marcus DiGliodo 6-5 at No. 1 when the point was decided.

Malina tied the match at 1-1 by posting a 7-6, 6-0 triumph over Phoenix
co-captain Sebastian Bredberg at No. 4 singles. Fenn then dispatched
Allen 6-3, 6-2 at No. 6, giving Elon the lead back for good. Dalodom’s
7-5, 6-4 win over DiGliodo at No. 2 stretched the Phoenix edge to 3-1.
Asplund upended Scott Myers 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 at No. 5 to clinch the Elon

At No. 1 singles, Gooch was leading Dekel, the SoCon Player of the Year
the past two seasons, by a 7-5, 2-2 margin when the match was decided.
At No. 3, Schermerhorn won his first set against Abramovich 6-4, but
lost the second one 6-1. The two players were in the midst of a 3-3
deadlock when the contest ended.

“This has been a complete team effort,” Elon coach Michael Leonard
said. “We were very fortunate to have different players step up and
contribute throughout the tournament and really throughout the season.
This team has been solid up and down the lineup. There really isn’t a
weak link for us this year. When someone has had an off-day, someone
else has made up the difference and helped to pull us through.
Selecting a team MVP this year becomes a tougher decision to make every
time we step out on the courts.”

For the week, Dalodom fashioned a 3-0 singles record and a 2-1 doubles
ledger with Fenn as his partner en route to earning tournament MVP
honors. Dalodom sports an 18-3 singles slate this spring. Gooch (17-4)
and Dalodom were both named First Team All-Southern Conference
selections while Asplund (18-3) and Fenn (18-4) were tabbed to the
second team.

The Gooch/Schermerhorn duo (18-2) earned First Team All-SoCon accolades
in doubles while Leonard, a 1991 Elon graduate, was dubbed the Southern
Conference Coach of the Year for the second consecutive campaign.

By claiming its 23rd victory, Elon passed its 1990 NAIA Division I
national championship team (22-3) as the winningest squad in Phoenix
men’s tennis history. Leonard was a junior playing No. 3 singles and
No. 2 doubles on the 1990 team.

Of the 23 wins, 13 have been decided in shutout fashion. That tally
includes a perfect 12-0 mark against SoCon opponents with sole setbacks
to nationally-ranked foes Duke and Wake Forest. Elon’s current 14-match
winning streak marks the program’s longest streak since the 1993 squad
won 17 matches in a row.