ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. — Last year, Valdosta State beat Lynn to win the Division II national tennis championship.

On Saturday, it was Lynn’s day to win it.

Lynn swept the three doubles matches, and went on to defeat Valdosta State 5-1 in the championship match of the NCAA Division II men’s tennis tournament Saturday morning at Sanlando Park.

“Lynn played a great tournament, and they earned it. Today, we ran into a better team,” Valdosta State head coach John Hansen said. “On another day, we might have won, but unfortunately Lynn won today.”

Nevertheless, Hansen had a lot of praise for his team and the season they had while trying to defend their 2006 national championship.

“It really was a great year,” Hansen said. “I can’t say enough about the men’s and women’s teams. We played well this tournament. This is a great group of guys, and I hate for the season to be over with, because we’ve enjoyed this year.

“Obviously we’re disappointed that we couldn’t win another national championship. But I’m still proud of the guys and how well they played this season.”

Lynn (24-4) claimed victory in the day’s first doubles match, as Denis Reinert and Dennis Riegraf defeated VSU’s Joerg Ekkenga and Nicolas Overkemping 8-4 at No. 2. Reinert and Riegraf grabbed control of the match right away, winning six of the first eight games. Ekkenga and Overkemping battled back, winning two of the next three games to close to within 7-4, before Reinert and Riegraf closed out the match by winning the final point.

The Knights increased their advantage to 2-0 when Lorenzo Cava and Julien Carsuzaa, the No. 13 doubles team in the nation, defeated fourth-ranked Dominik Hansen and Leos Jelinek. The Lynn pair won three of the first five games to take control of the match. Hansen and Jelinek closed to within 7-6, but Cava and Carsuzaa claimed the victory with a win in the 14th game.

In the third doubles match, Lynn earned a 9-7 come-from-behind victory at No. 3 doubles, where Tomas Racak and Axel Joachim defeated Mickael Andreo and Thomas Provost 9-7. Andreo and Provost won the first four games of the match, only to have Racak and Joachim storm back to tie the contest at 4-4. The Lynn duo eventually grabbed a 6-5 advantage, only to have Provost and Andreo come back and claim the next two games for a 7-6 lead. Racak and Joachim won the final three games to win the match 9-7.

“After we lost all three doubles matches, our guys came out and played hard in singles,” Hansen said. “At one point, early in the singles, we led on all six courts.”

Valdosta State (20-6) won the first singles match, as Dominik Hansen defeated Joachim 6-3, 6-1 at No. 6 singles. Joachim won the first three games of the first set, then Hansen stormed back, winning the next nine games to claim the first set and go up 3-0 in the second set. Joachim managed to win the fourth game of the set, but Hansen kept the pressure on, claiming the final three games for the win to cut VSU’s deficit to 3-1.

Then at No. 5 singles, Racak defeated Overkemping 7-5, 6-1. The two players battled even through the first eight games of the first set, before Overkemping took a 5-4 lead. Racak recovered to win the next three games to claim the set and then won the first five games of the second set, before closing out the victory to give Lynn a 4-1 advantage. The loss marked the first time in the 2007 season that Overkemping had dropped a singles match.

Riegraf, the 11th-ranked singles player in the nation, closed out the match with a 6-4, 6-3 win over No. 36 Provost at No. 3 singles. Provost won two of the first three games in the first set, only to have Riegraf storm back to win the set. Provost jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set, but Riegraf won the final six games to give the Knights the match.

“In many spots, we played well today, but we didn’t in others, and Lynn played exceptionally well,” Hansen said. “We had a couple of guys who just ran out of gas.”

The championship marked the first in school history for Lynn and was the third time in the last four years that Valdosta State finished among the top two. The Blazers finished second on the same courts in 2004 to West Florida, then won the national championship last season in Kansas City, Mo.

“We’re disappointed we didn’t win today, but we’re certainly pleased to make it back to the finals,” Hansen said. “I thought the level in men’s and women’s tennis was very high this year.”

Hansen was pleased with the number of fans who made the 230-mile drive from Valdosta to Altamonte Springs to cheer on the Blazers at the national tournament.

“It was unbelievable how many fans drove down from Valdosta to watch us play,” Hansen said. “That impressed the team. They really appreciated seeing them. We appreciate all the support we’ve gotten from the fans this year.”

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