Schaefer picks up nationally ranked win, Camels advance to Big South Finals

Nicolas Rakitin & Lukas Schaefer (Photo courtesy of Big South Sports)
Nicolas Rakitin & Lukas Schaefer (Photo courtesy of Big South Sports)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The Fighting Camels are headed to the Big South Men's Tennis Finals after a 4-2 victory over the No. 7 seed UNC Asheville Bulldogs Thursday afternoon at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex. Campbell has earned a championship berth for the third time in four years and will face Presbyterian on Friday, April 21 at 4 p.m. in the Big South finale.

Campbell junior Lukas Schaefer handed the reigning Big South Player of the Year and No. 118 player in the country Henry Patten his first singles loss of the season for CU's first win over a nationally ranked opponent this spring. Senior Nicolas Rakitin clinched his second-straight match on court three to seal the victory for the Camels.

Campbell (20-4, 5-2 BSC) had to overcome adversity early on to earn the doubles point. Lorenz Schwab and Dustin Werner fell on court one to Patten/Swindler, 6-2, to snap a seven-match win streak. Jonathan O'Neal and Gerard Sola trailed 3-0 to Massie/Youseff on court three, but won six-straight games to claim the victory, 6-3. The point came down to No. 2 doubles, where Rakitin and Schaefer overcame three-straight match points on their way to a 7-5 victory over Dillon/Cull to give Campbell a 1-0 lead.

The Bulldogs tied the match on court two as Swindler defeated Werner, 6-3, 6-1. Campbell answered with a 6-4, 6-0 win on court five from O'Neal over Massie. Campbell freshman Fernando Clemente fell on court six by a score of 6-0, 7-5 as Sinai tied it once again, 2-2.

Schaefer's win came next in perhaps the biggest upset in the Big South this season. After dropping the first set, he dominated to last two for a final score of 0-6, 6-3, 6-0 at the No. 1 flight. The match was clinched on court three as Rakitin defeated Dillon in three sets, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

Up next, Campbell will face No. 1 seed Presbyterian in the Big South Finals. The match is set for a 4 p.m. start on Friday, April 21 as CU looks for its first conference championship since winning the Big South in 1992. For the most up-to-date information on Campbell tennis, follow @GoCamelsTennis on Twitter.