Columbus State Prepares for the PBC Tournament
Augusta- The Peach Belt Conference has released its 2012 men's tennis championship bracket which is set to begin Friday, April 20 in Greenwood, South Carolina at the Joe Cabri Tennis Center located in the Jeff May Complex. Columbus State will enter the tournament as the second-seed for the first time since 2010.
After posting a 20-2 record in the regular season and an 8-1 record inside the PBC, the Cougars will take on either Augusta State or North Georgia in the first round at 9:00 a.m. on Friday. ASU and NGCSU will play Thursday, April 19 with the loser of the match taking on CSU as the seventh-seed in the tournament while the winner will be the sixth-seed and take on third-seeded and ninth ranked Lander. Columbus State defeated Augusta State 5-1 last Sunday while defeating North Georgia 7-2 on March 29.
Armstrong Atlantic State University is currently the number one ranked team in the nation after finishing the regular season with a 21-0 record. The Pirates will be the top-seed in the tournament and will be looking to win their eighth straight PBC Tournament title. Armstrong will begin their quest against eighth-seed and 33rd ranked USC Aiken.
The final pairing will be the four/five matchup with 10th ranked Francis Marion taking on 29th ranked Georgia College.
Columbus State will be looking for more postseason success this season after reaching the NCAA Tournament semifinal for the second consecutive year last season.
Olivier Simonet is the number one singles player for Columbus State. Ranked 23rd in the nation, Simonet is 9-8 this season. His finest moment of the season came when he defeated Lander's Paul-Henri Arrigoni who was ranked 15th in the nation at the time.
Playing second singles this season is Gordan Divljak. Divljak is 15-5 this season and 11-4 at the second spot. A huge reason for the Cougars' success this season is freshman Quentin Rayniere. Rayniere is 20-2 as a singles player playing the majority of his matches at third singles. He is 1-1 against nationally ranked foes including taking down 32nd ranked Matt Nicholson-Lewis of Saint Leo.
Martin Shishkov began the year with a loss but has rebounded going 17-3 on the season. To end the season, Shishkov won 12 out of the final 13 matches.
Michael Trebuhov, Danilo Sardelli and Oussama Zoghlami will all contribute at the fifth and sixth positions. Trebuhov is a perfect 9-0 this season while Sardelli is 19-2 playing majority of his matches at sixth singles. Zoghlami is 14-4 in his freshman season.
One of the strengths of this year's Columbus State squad is their play in doubles. Shishkov and Simonet are currently ranked sixth in the nation and finished the regular season with a 12-7 record. They are 2-2 against nationally ranked opponents including defeating the 14th and 19th ranked duo pairs in the nation.
Even more impressive has been the play of Divljak and Rayniere. They are a perfect 21-0 this season and 2-0 against nationally ranked foes. The duo's most impressive victory came against Pedro Scocuglia and Sven Lalic of Armstrong who are ranked 16th in the nation.
Adi Malicbegovic and Trebuhov will man third doubles for Columbus State. They are currently on a four-match winning streak and boast a 17-5 record. The pair went 5-4 in conference play this season.
Columbus State will be looking for its first PBC Tournament Championship in program history this weekend. In 2010, the Cougars reached the tournament finals for the first time in school history falling to Armstrong 5-1. Last season, Armstrong eliminated CSU in the semifinals.