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Men’s tennis sweeps America East awards

Haggai Player of Year, Cohen Coach of Year, Dinia top rookie

May 4, 2012


Men’s tennis sweeps America East awards

America East Release

Contact: John Hartrick (hartrick@binghamton.edu)

VESTAL, N.Y. – On the heels of its fifth straight conference title, Binghamton men’s tennis has swept the three major America East awards, the league announced on Thursday.

Senior No. 1 Alexandre Haggai was named the Player of the Year, Adam Cohen was voted the Coach of the Year and freshman Ismael Dinia was selected Rookie of the Year in a vote of the head coaches.

The Bearcats (15-11) earned their eighth conference crown in the last 10 years and will carry the conference banner down to Oxford, Mississippi for an NCAA first-round matchup with host and 13th-seeded Ole Miss on May 12.

The Bearcats clinched the America East title and the automatic NCAA berth on Sunday with a 4-1 win over UMBC at the USTA National Tennis Center. The team will bring an eight-match win streak into the national tournament.

Haggai, the Most Outstanding Player at the conference championship, anchors BU’s lineup. He went undefeated in four matches at Flushing, including a pair of dominating singles wins over Boston University and UMBC. Haggai has won 19 singles matches and 19 doubles matches this season and with his doubles win over UMBC in the title match, Haggai became the program’s all-time doubles wins leader with 73. A four-year starter, Haggai made the difficult jump up from No. 4 singles to the top spot this year after BU graduated its top-3 players last spring. He ends his career having won America East titles and played at the NCAA Championship all four years.

“I am excited for Alex to receive this award,” Cohen said. “ He has really picked up his play these past six weeks down the stretch for us in both singles and doubles.  He beat a couple of nationally-ranked players along the way this spring and also teamed up with Ismael (Dinia) to make a very solid doubles tandem. ”

Dinia has been a crucial part of the starting lineup all year. He is 27-13 overall – the best singles mark of any Bearcat. He went 17-9 in dual matches, including a 6-1 record at No. 3 singles. In addition, he has won 22 doubles matches playing primarily with Haggai at the No. 2 spot. At the America East Championship, he went undefeated and provided the clinching point against UMBC, ending the team match with his 6-0, 6-4 win. Earlier in the day, Dinia and Haggai didn’t drop a game in their 8-0 doubles win.

“Ismael had a terrific first season for us,” Cohen said. “He had a solid fall season and then kept things rolling in the spring.  Ismael played primarily at the fifth position for the first part of the spring season and as the season went along we kept moving him up until he landed at the third singles spot most of April.  To have over 25 victories in your first season of competition means you must be doing something good…and Ismael has certainly done that for us.”

Cohen earned top coaching honors for the fourth time in his six-year tenure (third straight year) at Binghamton. He has established BU as one of the premier programs in the Northeast and even after losing his top three players – arguably the finest trio in school history – he reloaded with three freshmen in the starting lineup and extended the Bearcats’ string of conference titles and NCAA appearances.

Haggai and Dinia were named first team all-conference in both singles and doubles. Joining them as first team all-conference players were junior Ruben Devos (singles and doubles), Bastian Bornkessel (doubles). Sophomore Ruben Haggai and freshman Robin Lesage were named second team all-conference in singles and doubles.

Devos, who will graduate in three years, has nine dual singles wins and with Bornkessel, formed the team’s top doubles duo. Devos and Bornkessel are 17-10 in duals. Ruben Haggai has 16 wins at fifth and sixth singles and Lesage was a crucial addition to the team in January, totalling 15 wins in the second semester. Haggai and Lesage also teamed for seven dual wins down the stretch at No. 3 doubles.

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