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BU men’s tennis is top seed for upcoming America East Championship
Bearcats will be seeking fourth consecutive conference title
April 28, 2011Tweet
VESTAL, N.Y.—Binghamton men’s tennis (10-13) has earned the top seed for the upcoming America East Championship and will seek its fourth straight conference title and NCAA tournament berth when the three-day event begins Friday in New Haven, Conn. The championship, held in conjunction with the women’s tournament, is being held on campus at Yale.
The Bearcats will play the winner of the first-round matchup between fourth-seeded Stony Brook and fifth-seeded Hartford in a semifinal at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Second-seeded UMBC will square off against third-seeded Boston in the other semifinal match with the two winners meeting in Sunday’s 11 a.m. championship match.
Binghamton has won the last three conference titles and six of the last eight. Last year, BU blanked Boston and UMBC by identical 4-0 scores to win the crown en route to their record-breaking 25-2 season.
This year, BU began the spring ranked No. 50 in the nation but fell out of the poll in late February after a string of narrow 4-3 defeats. The squad rebounded, however, and finished the regular season by winning six in a row and eight of its last nine.
“I think our guys are playing good going into this weekend’s tournament,” said head coach Adam Cohen, the 2010 America East and Northeast Region Coach of the Year. “It’s one of our main goals to be playing our best tennis as a team heading into the conference championship.”
The veteran team features three starters playing in their final collegiate seasons. Senior Sven Vloedgraven is the team’s top player and the No. 1 rated player in the entire Northeast. Vloedgraven is No. 81 in the lastest ITA Rankings and has been ranked as high as No. 55 during the spring. He is the two-time reigning ITA Northeast Regional singles champion, two-time reigning America East Player of the Year and is 30-7 overall in 2010-11. Vloedgraven became the school’s first NCAA Division I singles qualifier last spring and will graduate as the career leader in singles and doubles victories. He enters the America East championship having won 19 consecutive singles matches.
Fellow senior and No. 2 singles player Arnav Jain is 25-9 overall, 20-3 in duals this year. Jain went 24-0 in duals last season, highlighted by a straight-set win over Georgia Tech in the NCAA first round. He was ranked No. 6 in the Northeast this spring and owns a career singles mark of 100-27, joining Vloedgraven as the lone tennis players in school history to surpass the 100-win milestone.
Junior No. 3 Gilbert Wong will graduate in just three years so this will be his final spring as a Bearcat. Wong has won 11 singles matches this year and he pairs with Vloedgraven to form BU’s top doubles team.
Rounding out BU’s starting lineup are two brothers, junior Alexandre (No. 4) and freshman Ruben (No. 5) Haggai and sophomore Ruben Devos, last year’s America East Rookie of the Year. Alex Haggai has 17 singles wins and has the team’s best doubles record at 18-10, where he typically teams with Jain. Younger brother Ruben Haggai joined the team in January and has four dual wins. Devos has 13 combined singles and doubles wins. Doubles specialist Bastian Bornkessel is the other key ingredient to the starting lineup.