NEW ORLEANS – The 64th-ranked Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns men's tennis team recorded its 20th victory of the season and 10th straight on Sunday as the Cajuns defeated No. 71 South Alabama 4-2 in the Sun Belt Men's Tennis Championship match at the City Park Tennis Center to win the 2014 conference championship.
"This is huge for our program" head coach Mark Jeffrey said. "We already had achieved a lot with the record we have this year and all of the conference honors and coach of the year. Doubles was big for us today. Rick (de Groot) and Jake (Wynan) really showed the way for the rest of the team with their win on court one in doubles to clinch the point. The Wynan brothers came up big for us in singles along with Damian Farinola to win the match."
The conference championship is the first for Louisiana (20-4) since 2006 and the 10th in program history. The Ragin' Cajuns have posted 20-plus wins for the first time since 1986 and currently have the best winning percentage in program history.
The Cajuns jumped out to a 1-0 lead after winning the doubles point. Hunter Johnson and Carl Alberton tallied a strong 8-1 win against Tuki Jacobs and Shayann Vaezzadeh at the No. 3 position.
Rick de Groot and Jake Wynan clinched the point defeating Manuel Belda and Juan Troglia 8-2 on court one. The win was the 12th of the season for the duo.
The Jaguars' Daniel Leitner evened the match at 1-all besting Edgar Lopez on line one, 6-1, 6-1.
Brothers Jake and Jarred Wynan picked up wins to make the score 3-1 Ragin' Cajuns. Jarred Wynan won on court six in straight sets against Troglia, 7-6 (9-7), 6-3. Jake Wynan pulled out a three-set victory at the No. 3 position, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.
After Belda cut the lead to 3-2 claiming the decision on court two, Damian Farinola clinched the match and championship defeating Gerhard Gruindelingh, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, on court four.
The championship gives the Cajuns an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. The team will find out where they will be going on Tuesday, April 29 at 5 p.m. during the NCAA Division I Men's Championship selection show.