Klimchak crowned No. 1

The tennis program’s trophy cases continued to fill as the Lions returned home with another regional title. When the International Tennis Association (ITA) Northeast Regional Tournament at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., drew to a close on Sunday, senior Michael Klimchak was crowned singles champion after defeating his fellow co-captain, senior Eric Ferriere, in the finals 7-5, 6-0.

In the semifinals, New York University’s (NYU) top-seeded junior Mikhail Gurevich was taken down by the No. 3 seeded Klimchak 6-3, 6-2. Ferriere made it to the finals by defeating NYU’s junior Calvin Chou 6-4, 6-4 before falling to Klimchak.

By winning this tournament, Klimchak has punched his ticket to the ITA Nationals in Mobile, Ala., in two weeks. There he will be playing for a chance at the ITA National Championship as well as ITA All-America honors.

“My personal goals are pretty simple,” Klimchak said. “Compete hard and give it everything I have during each and every match. I just want my last year as a player to be the best it can be.”

Head coach Scott Dicheck was content with the performances of Klimchak and Ferriere at Regionals.

“They had experience going into this unique tournament and wanted to make their last year memorable,” Dicheck said. “They were prepared and gave great performances.”

The Lions came into the 2007 season with high expectations all around. After being ranked 25th nationally last year, the College expected nothing but great things from its mix of senior veterans and rookie freshmen.

“We have a very talented team and a good mixture of seniors and young guys,” Dicheck said when asked how this team compared to teams of the past.

“This team has the potential to be the best team that I have been a part of at the College because we have such great depth,” Klimchak said regarding his teammates. “I feel that our team has the potential to compete against the top teams in the country, which we will get a chance to play during our Spring Break trip to California.”

Klimchak, who was ranked in the top 20 nationally last year, heads this talented team along with co-captain Ferriere, returning starter sophomore Jeremy Eckardt and freshmen Matt Pierson and Jonathan Yu.

As ITA Nationals, which begin on Oct. 10, quickly approach, the Lions are optimistic for their fall season as well as their spring trip to California.

“I think the team can be top 15 in the nation this year or even top 10,” Eckardt said. “We only lost one guy and gained two good freshmen. Everyone else has gotten better as well.” Chiming in on the team’s goals for the year, Klimchak said, “As a team, our ultimate goal is to finish in the top 10 in the country and make it to the NCAA quarterfinals in New York.”

“I am so excited for the spring,” he added, “because these guys have the desire and intensity to make it happen.”