NJAC Champs, 24 times straight

The College’s women’s tennis team captured its 24th consecutive New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship by defeating the Kean University Cougars and the William Paterson University Pioneers during a doubleheader Sunday afternoon.

The Lions won both matches by the score of 9-0, giving them a 5-0 record for the season and in the NJAC.

The victories extend the Lions’ NJAC win streak to 146 matches, as the College has never lost a league match since tennis became an NJAC sport in 1982.

Freshman Jackie Shtemberg won in both first singles and first doubles. Shtemberg has won 12 consecutive singles matches and is 15-1 overall. The NJAC’s Rookie of the Week for three straight weeks, Shtemberg beat William Paterson freshman Evelyn Tam 6-0, 6-0 in the first singles match. Shtemberg then paired up with junior Christina Contrafatto to win the first doubles match 8-0 against Pioneers seniors Evonne Tan and Alima Williams. The Lions duo has now won nine straight matches and is 13-2 overall.

Freshman Stefanie Haar also won both of her singles matches 6-0, 6-0, while playing at the No. 2 position against the Cougars and the No. 3 spot against the Pioneers. Haar teamed up with senior Kristen Turturiello at first doubles to beat Kean’s Danielle Fardin and Rosa DeJesus 8-0. Against William Paterson, Haar and sophomore Haley Kutner played second doubles and beat William Paterson’s Meghan Ludgate and Victoria Cohnand 8-2.

Last Wednesday, the Lions faced Ramapo College for a 9-0 victory at home. Shtemberg collected a pair of wins as she won both first singles and first doubles. She beat Roadrunners junior Lindsay Gerhard 6-1, 6-2. The Lions rookie then paired up with Contrafatto for an 8-0 win over Gerhard and freshman Alison Tukel.

Kutner beat Ramapo’s Tukel 6-3, 6-0 to improve to 10-3 overall. Kutner, last week’s NJAC Player of the Week, paired up with Haar for a victory over Ramapo senior Jennifer Murphy and sophomore Elizabeth Wyble 8-0.

The College’s men’s tennis team will not join the women’s team in Florida for Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Nationals on Oct. 12.

Lions freshman Jeremy Eckardt fell to junior New York University (NYU) captain Mikhail Gurevich 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 in the semifinals of the ITA Northeast Regional Tournament on Sunday morning at Vassar College.

Eckardt advanced to the semifinals by beating his teammate, junior Eric Ferriere, in the quarterfinals 7-6 (5), 7-5. He opened the three-day tournament with an 8-0 domination over Johan Pestec of Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to move on to the second round, where Eckardt beat senior SUNY-Oneonta’s Eric Bratt 2-6, 7-6 (4), 11-9. To open the third round, Eckardt beat junior Ashish Patil of Vassar College 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Ferriere opened the third round with a victory over junior Thanos Kantarelis of the University of Rochester, the tournament’s top-seeded player. Ferriere won 6-2, 7-6 (3) to face Eckardt in the semifinals. Ferriere beat Stevens Institute of Technology’s freshman Piotr Rusinkiewicz 8-3 and continued on to beat NYU senior Zubair Ghouse 6-2, 4-6, 10-7.

Also competing in the third round for the Lions were junior Roger Mosteller and senior Corey Ball.

Mosteller lost in the third round to Skidmore College’s senior Tyson McKechnie 6-2, 6-3. Mosteller opened the tournament with an 8-2 win over Rochester senior Mike Burger and moved on to beat Oneonta sophomore Ryan Pettus 6-0, 6-2.

Ball lost in the third round as well, falling to St. Lawrence University senior Matt Dwyer 6-2, 6-2. Ball defeated Hamilton College sophomore Jared Friedbrug in the first round 8-1 and advanced to beat Rennselear Polytechnic Institute freshman Ben Rosenthal 6-0, 6-0.

Lions junior Michael Klimchak opened with an 8-4 victory over RIT’s Brennan Douglas. Klimchack then fell to Skidmore senior Josh Rucker 2-6, 6-2, 10-4 in the second round.

In doubles play, top seeded Klimchak and Mosteller lost in the semifinals 8-6 to St. Lawrence University’s Dwyer and sophomore Jon Satkowski. The Lions pair opened with an 8-2 victory over Hamilton’s Friedburg and sophomore Tom Bacon. Klimchak and Mosteller then beat Drew University’s junior Jason Swenson and senior Ross Lieblick 8-2 to move on to the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals, the pair beat Steven’s Rusinkiewicz and junior Ricky Bawan 8-2.

Ferriere and Ball lost in the quarterfinals to the second-seeded Kantarelis and junior Eric Hansen 8-2 of Rochester. The Lions duo opened the tournament with an 8-0 win over Nazareth College’s sophomore Greg Bohneberg and junior Jerry Stocker. In the second round, Ferriere and Ball beat Skidmore’s Rucker and senior Alex Iselin 8-1.

Men’s tennis will resume in the spring, but the women return to the courts Oct. 12 as Shtemberg and Contrafatto will participate at ITA Nationals in Fort Myers, Fla., looking for another championship.