The men’s tennis team traveled to Canton, N.Y. to play in the St. Lawrence University Fall Classic this past weekend. UR was coming off of the Flower City Tournament in which they went 2-1, beating St. Lawrence University and Ithaca College by scores of 5-3 and falling to Skidmore College, 1-8.
The ‘Jackets showed that they came to play at the Classic, and, although the tournament consisted of just five teams, all of the finals contained players from St. Lawrence and UR. In overall results, the UR men did the best, coming out with wins in one singles bracket and both doubles brackets.
The form of the competition was what is called a flight tournament. This type of tournament has three different singles heats, in which the top two players from each participating school play in the top flight, or ‘A” bracket, the third and fourth players from all schools play in the ‘B” bracket and the remaining players play in the ‘C” bracket. The doubles brackets were set up in the same fashion, with the top two pairs playing in the ‘A” bracket and the third and fourth team playing in the ‘B” bracket. The schools participating in the tournament included UR, Hamilton College, Nazareth College, Rochester Institute of Technology and host St. Lawrence.
The ‘Jackets came into the tournament after a great match against St. Lawrence, where they won 5-3. According to head coach Matt Nielsen, the victory was a big win for them, especially after UR’s 8-1 loss to St. Lawrence last year. In fact, the ‘Jackets haven’t beaten St. Lawrence in a number of years, Nielsen said.
The Yellowjackets have been improving and building with key players from last year and talented freshmen, and this was reflected in the weekend’s win.
UR participated in all three singles brackets and came out on top in one of them. The win came from freshman Brian Schmeer in the ‘C” bracket. Schmeer breezed through his opposition, winning 6-2, 6-0 in his opening match, 6-3, 6-1 in the quarterfinals and 6-1, 6-2 in the semifinals. He then won the finals after his opponent from St. Lawrence dropped out.
UR showed its strength in doubles play by winning both brackets in the tournament, as well as having three doubles teams end up in the finals. Sophomore Ryan Kovaleski and junior Brian Bowman held their title from last year and won the ‘A” bracket, 8-3, against a St. Lawrence duo that has proven troublesome for UR in the past.
The win was rewarding and redeeming for Bowman and Kovaleski, due to the fact that the team they beat this week was the team that defeated them last week in the Flower City Tournament.
Kovaleski also was a finalist in the ‘A” singles bracket where he lost, 4-6, 2-6, to a player from St. Lawrence. Sophomore Patrick Sheehan also played well, making it to the ‘B” singles bracket final before losing, 3-6, 2-6, to a St. Lawrence opponent.
Sophomore Daniel Barbash and freshman Matt Voklov finished the sweep of doubles play by winning the ‘B” bracket.
Barbash and Voklov won their opener, 8-3, then won by default to get into the finals and play fellow teammates sophomore Bennett Peterson and junior Adam Crosby. Barbash and Voklov got the better of their teammates, 8-6, in a close match.
Peterson and Crosby won their opener 8-3, then battled in their next match to win 9-7 and easily got into the finals by winning the semifinals 8-3.
Nielson was happy with the results of the weekend.
‘I was confident going in that we would do well if we played up to our capabilities,” he said. ‘We played well in every draw.”
The coach was especially enthused about his team’s play against St. Lawrence, a regionally ranked team who is a perennial nuisance for the ‘Jackets.
Next, UR heads to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association regional at Millcreek Park in Willingboro, N.J. The regional runs from Oct. 3-5. Those players who finish first in the regional then go on to play in the national tournament. The ITA regionals are what the team works for all fall and, with the way that the team has been playing, it looks like it could be a promising and rewarding event for the ‘Jackets.
UR’s overall record for the fall is 4-1.
Belonga is a member of the class of 2010.