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NORFOLK, Va.  -- The Morgan State men's tennis team captured their first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Championship in program history with a 4-2 win over defending champion South Carolina State on Saturday afternoon.msu meacmtn19 champsMorgan State University
2019 MEAC Men's Tennis Champions

Morgan State earned the MEAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship, the field for which will be unveiled on on Monday at 6 p.m. EST.

Head coach Matthew Townes, noted "Even though we have been able to capture 8 straight divisional titles, the conference championship is the one that counts the most."

"I'm so proud of the efforts and mental focus each Bear exhibited throughout the tournament," added Townes. "Winning the first one in school history is extremely special and I'm very grateful to be a part of it. Our motto from the beginning of the season was "Us Against The World", and it feels amazing to see our plan come into fruition."

The Bears made short work of the doubles portion to open things up, as Oguzhan Ceylan and Nihit Rawal defeated Gerardo Bontifacio and Selim Ben Ali 6-3 – before Serhii Kharchev and Arjun Ramakrishnan outlasted Aleska Daskalovic and Adam Kalicoda at No. 2 doubles, 7-6 (7-1).

With Morgan State up 1-0, Rawal shined at No. 3 singles, defeating Marcelo Rodriguez 6-3, 6-4 to give the Bears a 2-0 lead. Daskalovic followed at No. 2 singles with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Kharchev to give the Bulldogs their first point of the match.

Bontifacio then tied things with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Sebastian Lopez at No. 5 singles, before Ramakrishnan put the Bears back on top with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Juan Ramirez at the No. 1 singles slot.

That left the Nos. 4 and 6 singles matches remaining, both of which were in the third set. Shrey Gupta at No. 6 finished first, defeating Ben Ali 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 to give the Bears their historic title.

Rawal was named the tournament's Outstanding Performer. Matthew Townes was named Outstanding Coach.

2019 MEAC Men's Tennis All-Tournament Team

1: Victor Bravo, Bethune-Cookman
2: Aleska Daskalovic, South Carolina State
3: Nihit Rawal, Morgan State
4: Oguzhan Ceylan, Morgan State
5: Gerardo Bontifacio, South Carolina State
6: Shrey Gupta, Morgan State

1: Juan Ramirez/Marcelo Rodriguez, South Carolina State
2: Serhii Kharchev/Arjun Ramakrishnan, Morgan State
3: Oguzhan Ceylan/Nihit Rawal, Morgan State

Order of Finish
Doubles: 3, 2
Singles: 3, 2, 5, 1, 6

Outstanding Performer: Nihit Rawal, Morgan State
Outstanding Coach: Matthew Townes, Morgan State


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