Men’s tennis defeats ‘Hurst 5-1 to defend conference crown
Story first appeared in the April 30, 2015 edition of the Edinboro University Spectator, which was first distributed on campus and around the town of Edinboro.
Head coach Lee Underwood referred to his men’s tennis team’s season as a story. He alluded to this month as the climax, when his team should be at its best, and when the story is beginning to fully take shape.
After the weekend, this year’s story is looking to be a fairytale.
The top-seeded Fighting Scots cruised to their second-straight PSAC Men’s Tennis Championship on Saturday at the Burt Reese Tennis Center in Bloomsburg, defeating local rival Mercyhurst, 5-1, in the championship match.
“It feels good,” head coach Lee Underwood said about repeating as champs. “It feels like we are doing the right thing.”
Boro defeated #4 West Chester 5-0 on Friday afternoon in the semi-finals to advance to Saturday’s championship match. Mercyhurst edged Kutztown 5-4 in the other semi-final.
This second championship in as many years actually shows dominance that goes farther as Boro appeared in the PSAC Championship in 2013.
That isn’t the only streak surrounding this squad. Edinboro has won seven straight matches to wrap up the PSAC portion of the 2014-15 season and has triumphed in 10 of its last 11 contests.
Freshman Vitor Albanese moved his winning streak in singles to 10 straight matches, with a 6-3, 6-4, win against Mercyhurst’s Nenad Terzic in the championship. Albanese’s match was not finished in the semi-final, but he was leading 6-3, 5-2 when it was halted.
Additionally, doubles, which has been the strong suit of this squad as of late is swimming in streaks. Albanese and Brandon Romain have won five straight doubles matches. Matias Aignasse and Bruno Borja, Boro’s tandem at number two doubles, have won nine straight matches and Juan Estepa and Daniel Fernandez earned their seventh straight doubles victory together with a dominant 8-1 win at number three doubles on Saturday.
“I felt like in the beginning our doubles was going to be very strong…[Recently] everything really started clicking and we definitely have been playing very good doubles over the last several weeks,” Underwood commented in a phone interview Sunday afternoon.
Aignasse was recognized as the best of the best in the championships as the senior was named the MVP of the championships. He was 4-0 over the two days, earning two singles wins and teaming with Borja for two doubles victories while helping Boro to the title.
“He can be a very dominant returner,” Underwood said of Aignasse. “He kind of neutralizes a lot of teams’ serves in doubles. With him and Bruno [Borja], they are probably two of the best returners playing together in our region. They both return well and both serve pretty well. He started to coming along in singles, he had some really good sets. Being able to lock down the number two singles for us was really crucial for us going down the stretch.”
The rest of Boro’s story is yet to be unwritten as the Scots now head to the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional, which begins Saturday. The site and seeds for the bracket were announced after deadline for this issue. (Online update: Edinboro will face Charleston in the first round of the regional.)
Underwood and his team knows a little about the NCAA tournament as the Scots won the regional championship a year ago as they advanced to the Sweet 16.
The fifth-year coach says opponents don’t want to face his squad in the regional.
“I know that pretty much every team in that region does not want to play us,” Underwood said confidently. “It is a fact. The teams that are ahead of us right now were all 5-4 losses for us. No one really wants to come and play us. When they played us before, they knew they got out with a 5-4 victory with a sigh of relief and said that they hopefully don’t see us again. That is pretty much a fact.”
Edinboro (14-6) 5 West Chester (8-10) 0
1. Vitor Albanese (EDIN-M) vs. Jared Howatt (WCU-MT) 6-3, 5-2, unfinished
2. Matias Aignasse (EDIN-M) def. Charlie Rushing (WCU-MT) 6-0, 6-3
3. Bruno Borja (EDIN-M) vs. Lars Kristiansen (WCU-MT) 6-1, 5-0, unfinished
4. Daniel Fernandez (EDIN-M) vs. Tony Deimler (WCU-MT) 7-6 (7-2), 0-2, unfinished
5. Juan Estepa (EDIN-M) def. Lucas van der Heyde (WCU-MT) 6-0, 6-2
6. Anmol Sandhu (EDIN-M) vs. Troy Donato (WCU-MT) 6-4, 2-1, unfinished
1. Vitor Albanese/Brandon Romain (EDIN-M) def. Jared Howatt/Tony Deimler (WCU-MT) 9-8 (7-4)
2. Bruno Borja/Matias Aignasse (EDIN-M) def. Lars Kristiansen/Charlie Rushing (WCU-MT) 8-5
3. Juan Estepa/Daniel Fernandez (EDIN-M) def. Lucas van der Heyde/Troy Donato (WCU-MT) 8-5
Edinboro (15-6) 5 Mercyhurst (13-6) 1
1. Vitor Albanese (EDIN-M) def. Nenad Terzic (MER-M) 6-3, 6-4
2. Matias Aignasse (EDIN-M) def. Travis Beck (MER-M) 6-4, 7-5
3. Bruno Borja (EDIN-M) vs. Robert Rizea (MER-M) 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, unfinished
4. Daniel Fernandez (EDIN-M) vs. Andoni Marquez (MER-M) 6-1, 7-5, 5-5, unfinished
5. Juan Estepa (EDIN-M) vs. Conor McCooey (MER-M) 2-6 (7-3), 7-6, 1-0, unfinished
6. Ross Molinaro IV (MER-M) def. Anmol Sandhu (EDIN-M) 6-1, 6-2
1. Vitor Albanese/Brandon Romain (EDIN-M) def. Travis Beck/Nenad Terzic (MER-M) 8-4
2. Bruno Borja/Matias Aignasse (EDIN-M) def. Conor McCooey/Andoni Marquez (MER-M) 8-3
3. Juan Estepa/Daniel Fernandez (EDIN-M) def. Robert Rizea/Ross Molinaro IV (MER-M) 8-1