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Men’s tennis heads to America East championship
Top-seeded Bearcats aiming for sixth straight conference title, NCAA berth
April 25, 2013Tweet
Contact: John Hartrick (firstname.lastname@example.org)
VESTAL, N.Y.—Binghamton men’s tennis departed for UMBC on Thursday, where the five-time reigning champions will compete at the America East Championship this weekend.
The Bearcats (14-9), the tournament’s top seed, will begin defense of their crown with a semifinal match against fourth-seeded Hartford at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. A win would move BU into Sunday’s 10 a.m. championship match. The America East winner receives the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA Championship. Binghamton has won five consecutive conference titles - the third-longest active streak in any sport in the America East. The Bearcats have advanced to the NCAAs eight times in the last 10 years - easily the most successful sports team at the University.
After a challenging early spring that saw BU face five nationally-ranked opponents, the team has performed its trademark late-season surge. Head coach Adam Cohen‘s squad has won six matches in a row and nine of its last 10. Included in its win total are lopsided victories over America East opponents Hartford (7-0) and UMBC (6-1), teams that likely represent BU’s path at the tournament. The host and second-seeded Retrievers will benefit from a home environment - the first time the championship won’t be contested at a neutral location in BU’s 12-year tenure. Last year in Flushing, BU toppled UMBC 4-1 in the finals.
The Bearcats have freshmen playing in the top two singles positions and only one senior on the roster.
Freshman No. 1 Sid Hazarika has been outstanding, posting a 20-3 singles record, including a 9-1 mark at the top spot. Classmate Alexander Maisin has 17 wins at No. 2 in his inaugural collegiate season. Sophomore Robin Lesage (20-11) holds down the No. 3 spot, followed by sophomore Ismael Dinia (15-13), junior Ruben Haggai (20-9) and sophomore Florian van Kann (11-9) in the 4-6 positions. Haggai has won 12 consecutive matches and his championship experience will be pivotal. Senior doubles specialist Bastian Bornkessel (68 career doubles wins) combines with Hazarika to form BU’s top doubles tandem.
“I think our guys are looking forward to the tournament,” Cohen said. “Having played five of our last six matches at home has helped get some of the guys rested. This will be the first time since my arrival that the tournament will not be at a neutral site ... so I think playing so many matches on the road and also playing at UMBC just a few weeks ago will help our guys. Our team is obviously young with two freshmen and three sophomores among our top six. However, we have played a difficult schedule up to this point so I feel our guys have been tested and have gained a good amount of experience and confidence over the spring season.”