Courtesy of Wisconsin Lutheran College
MADISON, Wis. -- The fourth-seeded Wisconsin Lutheran College men's tennis team upset top-seeded MSOE 5-4 in the semifinals before defeating third-seeded rival Concordia Wisconsin 5-3 in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Tournament Final to win its first-ever NACC Tournament Championship and earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history Saturday at Nielsen Tennis Stadium.
WLC (13-9) won two of the three doubles matches in the final, as the No. 1 team of Lee Johnson (Hales Corners, Wis./Wisconsin Lutheran) and Zach Birner (Neenah, Wis./Luther Preparatory) outlasted Russell Johnson and Skip Turner 9-8 (7-5) and the No. 2 team of Derek Sallmann (Waukesha, Wis./West) and Ryan Sallmann (Waukesha, Wis./West) earned an 8-1 victory over Benjamin Nommensen and Garrett Wells.
Birner picked up a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Tanner Hahn at No. 3 singles to give the Warriors a 3-1 lead over the Falcons (14-12). Derek Sallmann dispatched Nommensen 6-1, 6-2 at No. 4 singles to put WLC a win away from the title, and Ryan Sallmann clinched the championship with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Turner at No. 2 singles.
The semifinal matchup against the Raiders (10-10) came down to the final match, and Jeremy Vanderhyde (Aurora, Colo./Rocky Mountain Lutheran) hung on for a thrilling three-set (3-6, 6-2, 6-4) victory over Tom Smith at No. 6 singles to send the Warriors to the final. Johnson (6-3, 6-1), Ryan Sallmann (6-3, 2-6, 6-1), and Derek Sallmann (6-0, 6-2) also claimed singles victories at the No. 1, 2, and 4 slots, respectively.
The Warriors dropped two of the three doubles matches, with Derek Sallmann and Ryan Sallmann winning 8-5 at No. 2 doubles.
Wisconsin Lutheran will compete in the NCAA Tournament First Round next Friday. The opponent, location, and time will be announced Monday.