WASHINGTON, DC – The University of the District of Columbia men's tennis team was defeated, 6-3 by New York Institute of Technology in both NCAA Division II East Region ranked teams' East Coast Conference regular season finale Friday afternoon.
The Firebirds, ranked No. 6 in the latest NCAA Division II East Region poll, fell to 6-5 overall and 3-2 in league play with today's loss. The Bears, ranked No. 3 in the East Region, improved to 10-3 overall and 4-1 in league play.
UDC won the No. 2 doubles and No. 4 and 5 singles matches while also forcing extended play in losses at No. 1 doubles and No. 3 and 6 singles.
The match began with doubles play as NYIT jumped out to an early 1-0 lead courtesy of an 8-4 No. 3 doubles win. The Firebirds answered back as juniors Alexis Baguelin and Ander Murillo earned an impressive, 8-6 victory at No. 2 to even the match score. Finally, at No. 1 doubles, juniors Rok Bozic and Diego Pinto battled with the No. 2 ranked doubles team in the East Region, Rafal Charkiewicz and Rares Ispas, but were ultimately outlasted, 9-7. NYIT led 2-1 heading to singles play.
Charkiewicz, the No. 1 ranked singles player in the East Region, extended the Bears' lead to 3-1 as he defeated Bozic, 6-3, 6-0 at No. 1 singles, but UDC would win two of the next three completed singles matches to stay alive, trailing 4-3. First, Murillo shook off a 2nd set loss to beat David Jiang, 6-0, 1-6, 6-2 at No. 4 singles, and junior Marco Feligioni bounced back from a first set loss to win 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 at No. 5 singles.
Baguelin looked poised to even the score at 4 as he cruised to a 6-0 first set win over Ispas, but the No. 17 ranked singles player in the region came storming back to win the No. 3 match, 0-6, 6-4, 6-4. That clinched the victory for the Bears with the 5th decisive point.
Freshman Josip Marinic fought fiercely at No. 6 to tighten the final score between this battle of regionally-ranked foes to 5-4 instead of 6-3. He would win his first set 7-6 after four tie-breaks, but could not muster a win in either of the next two sets, falling to Jaime Salvador, 6-7(4), 6-4, 10-8.
The Firebirds will go on the road to play their regular season finale against Division I foe George Mason University tomorrow, April 15th at 2 p.m.