Releases

For Immediate Release: January 16, 2009
Contact: John Hartrick (hartrick@binghamton.edu)
Phone: 607-777-6800

BU men's tennis bolsters lineup heading into spring season
Bearcats add two freshmen as they begin quest to defend America East title

VESTAL, N.Y. -- Binghamton men's tennis coach Adam Cohen has added two international talents as his Bearcats open their spring season next week. Joining the program are freshmen Rafael Rodrigues (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and Alexandre Haggai (St. Denis, Reunion Island).

“I am excited to have both Alexandre and Rafael joining our men’s tennis team this spring semester," Cohen said. "Although both freshmen, I do expect each guy to immediately compete for a starting spot in our lineup.”

The Bearcats, who played in six tournaments in the fall season, are preparing to defend the program's America East title, claimed last spring with a thrilling 4-3 victory over UMBC in the championship match. It was the school's fourth conference crown in the last six years.

Three starters and five letterwinners return from that squad, which won 13 matches and was ranked 13th in the Northeast. Leading the way are junior Moshe Levy, sophomores Sven Vloedgraven and Arnav Jain and freshman Gilbert Wong, who will occupy the top four singles positions and comprise the bulk of the doubles combinations.

Levy, who played second and third singles last spring and was a first team all-conference doubles player, enjoyed an outstanding fall season. He went 10-3 in singles and captured the "A" singles flight at the Cornell Invitational after dispatching three regionally ranked players - all in straight sets.

"Moshe had a good fall season," Cohen said. "If he can continue to stay healthy, his results will continue to be a big boost for us."

Vloedgraven was a big reason why BU captured the America East title last spring (17-8 singles record), and he continues to excel. He won nine matches in the fall and battled the No. 4 and No. 8 players in the region in narrow three-set defeats.

"Sven is always going to make you play a lot of balls to beat him," Cohen said. "He has improved his serve and his transition play, which will allow him not to play so many long points."

Jain was the hero of the 2008 America East championship when he rallied from 5-3 down in the deciding match to clinch the team title. He went a spl+endid 18-3 in singles as a freshman, and began his sophomore season with nine wins in the fall. Jain was runnerup in his flight at both the Virginia Invitational and the USTA Invitational.

"Arnav continued his consistent play from last spring right into this fall and he beat some quality opponents from Virginia Tech, James Madison and St. John's," Cohen said. "He has worked hard this fall to improve some of his weaknesses and I expect Arnav to have another solid spring season."

Wong went a team-best 14-4 in the fall and won his flight at the Virginia Invite. He also captured the "B" singles consolation flight at Cornell.

"Gilbert is a tireless worker who loves to compete," Cohen said. "He is going to be a big help to our team's overall success in both singles and doubles."

The spring schedule features 23 matches culminating in the America East Championship, April 24-26 at the Yale Tennis Center in New Haven, Conn. Highlighting the slate is an away match at Big 10 member Minnesota (Feb. 22) and contests against two nationally-ranked opponents, No. 53 Drake (Feb. 21) and No. 68 Radford (April 6). The Bearcats will also face most of the elite teams in the Northeast, including Ivy League members Brown (Feb. 28), Columbia (Feb. 27) and Cornell (Feb. 11). Duals against America East rivals UMBC (March 21) and Stony Brook (April 17) will help determine the seeding for the conference championship.

"Our goal is to successfully defend our America East title," Cohen said. "We also want to move inside the top-10 in the Northeast region and excel in the classroom as well by earning a 3.0 grade-point average."

Binghamton opens play on January 31 when Villanova comes to town. The 5:30 p.m. match will be held indoors at the Binghamton Tennis Center.

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