Three men vie for national titles in Ft. Myers, Fla.While three UR Intercollegiate Tennis Association regional champions were having fun under the sun in Florida, the rest of the men’s tennis team stayed up in the chilly and cloudy Northeast, playing the final games of the fall season. The Yellowjackets participated in the Canadian-American Invitational – the final event until the spring season – hosted by Niagara University this past weekend. Even without senior Partha Bhattacharya and freshmen Thanos Kantarelis and Eric Hansen, the team played extremely well over the weekend, reaching the three finals. Sophomore Michael Lee defeated Andrew Mayer of Niagara University, a Division I team, 6-2, 6-2 to win the Flight B singles championship. In the semifinals, he prevailed in a close match against Alex Abji of Niagara 7-5, 6-4. Juniors Eric Prince and Brian Shenker also played well, teaming up to reach to the Flight A doubles final. They fell short of the title, losing to Niagara’s Justin McConkey and Walter Garcia, 8-4. In the semifinals, the UR duo played extremely well, defeating Conor Casey and Jay Barlow of McMaster University 8-5.Rochester also saw success in Flight B doubles. Sophomore Anand Popuri and freshman Aaron Gettinger won in the semifinals over Gregg Kaufman and Dave Rueter, 8-4. In the finals, they dropped a hard-fought match against Western Ontario’s Andrew Nisker and Michael Leff, losing 8-3. Senior Avinash Reddy competed in a tough Flight A bracket, losing in the semifinals. Although Reddy played well, he could not withstand Jon Bozanich’s fast serves. Lee described his serves to be “just as fast as Andy Roddick’s.” Reddy lost to Bozanich 6-3, 6-4. Junior Josh Bruce-Black also lost in the Flight A semifinals. Bruce-Black was defeated by Eric Garcia of Niagara 6-2, 6-2 after getting a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Nino Rajic of McMaster. In Fort Meyers, Fla., at the ITA Nationals tournament, Bhattacharya finished in sixth place. After defeating Ben Lundell of Gustavus Adolphus College 6-2, 6-1, he lost Marshall Kuresman of DePauw University 6-3, 2-6, 6-7 (1) in a third-set tiebreaker. Kantarelis and Hansen did not win any matches in the tournament, only reaching the quarterfinals. The Yellowjackets started the tennis year well, with tremendous success throughout the fall season despite a rocky start. Powered by the addition of new UR tennis players and the return of UR’s top tennis players, Rochester’s men’s tennis team has become a stronger squad. As they go on their break, the team is training for the spring, heading for new success. “This team is definitely good enough to beat the competition,” Lee said. “We just have to act like we can.”Lee can be reached at alee@campustimes.org.

Women compete at two-country tourney in NiagraDriving rains, barely playable courts and lack of sleep failed to deter UR’s tennis team from going deep into the women’s draw of the Canadian-American International Tournament, which was held this past weekend at Niagara University’s Sportsplex in Niagara Falls, N.Y.The soaking rains forced all teams to play inside on only six courts, which were reportedly in rather unfortunate conditions.”The playing surface was unplayable – it felt like there were air pockets,” freshman Vera Yakochenko said. “It didn’t feel completely stable.” Due to erratic bounces caused by the uneven playing surface, “there was a big home-court advantage,” freshman Colleen Cross said, who plays first singles for the Yellowjackets. The lack of courts further complicated matters. The players had to wait for long periods of time between their matches.”There was a lot of waiting around between matches,” Cross said. “We didn’t leave the club until 11:30 p.m. on Saturday and we had to be back at the club on Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m., so it was definitely a long tournament.”Despite the conditions, UR managed to perform well in Niagara Falls. UR and Niagara were the only two American universities at the tournament. The other four universities in the tournament, York University, Western Ontario University, McMaster University and Wilfrid Laurier University, are Canadian.In both the “A” and “B” flights of the tournament, two singles players and one doubles team represented UR – Cross and freshman Shivani Kumar played singles in Flight A, while Yakochenko and junior Jaymi Della competed in Flight B. Kumar won her first match, and then fell in the second round to eventual winner Miriam Al-Shikarchy of Niagara. After beating her first-round opponent from Western Ontario, Cross then went on to reach the finals. She lost also lost to Al-Shikarchy.In Flight B, Yakochenko won her first match against Erin McIntosh of Western Ontario, but lost in the quarterfinals 7-6, 6-0 to Liz Smart of York. Della had a first-round bye, and then lost in the next round to Niagara.In Flight A doubles action, the UR team of Alexa Perry and Tessa Baker reached the finals and soundly defeated Western Ontario 8-5 to win the Flight A doubles championship. Sophomores Maya Gurme and Dana Sall of UR reached the Flight B doubles final, and finished second place in their flight.”Although this was an individual tournament, the team overall did a really good job,” Cross said. “The women’s team had players in the final in three of four brackets, as did the men. I think doing so well at our last tournament of the season gives us all a little confidence and should help us in the spring.”In the offseason, the team will continue to practice regularly every week and work on improving their conditioning. Their spring season begins in February at the University of Buffalo. Ogorek can be reached at aogorek@campustimes.org.



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