Almost nothing comes quite as close to the thrill of a season-ending tournament. The practice leading up to the weekend, the atmosphere and the sheer excitement — which has to be contained by the players — make it a truly fantastic experience beyond compare.
The men’s tennis team got the opportunity to experience this first hand, closing out their fall season as they traveled to Ithaca, N.Y. to square off against some of the best players in the region at the ITA Northeast Regional. This three-day tournament featured a singles competition consisting of 64 competitors and a doubles tournament showcasing 32 teams.
Among the top performers from the College in singles play were senior Howard Telson and sophomore Pierce Cooper. Both players represented the Lions squad well, winning their way through the first two rounds of the singles bracket with ease. After making it to the round of 16, both of their runs came to an end.
In addition to Telson and Cooper, sophomore Billy Buchbinder also managed to make his way through the first round. Buchbinder stormed back into his first match after losing the first set and pulled out the win, but was eliminated just before the round of 16.
The participants in the doubles play from the Lions side was the duo of Telson and Buchbinder, as well as the duo of Cooper and freshman Mike Stanley. Both duos put forth formidable outings on the weekend, winning their way past the first round of the bracket with ease.
In the round of 16, the duo of Telson and Buchbinder fell in a close match against a pair from the University of Rochester. Cooper and Stanley, however, made their way through this stage, defeating their opponent 8-4 and earning themselves a spot in the quarterfinal matches.
The duo then faced off against a pair from the Steven’s Institute of Technology in a match that was neck and neck the entire time. After toughing it out for the weekend, Cooper and Stanley finally fell to the Stevens duo in a tiebreaker, closing out their tournament hopes with a score of 9-8.
While the men were participating in the ITA Northeast Regional, the women’s team hosted a plethora of matches on campus. The matchups over the three-day weekend for the women had them facing off against Ramapo College, Rutgers-Newark, William Paterson University and Rutgers-Camden.
On Friday, Sept. 20, in their face-off against Ramapo, the Lions came out of the gate on fire. The team didn’t even allow their opponents to take a single game in nine out of the 15 sets, winning the match by a score of 9-0 and dealing Ramapo their first loss of the season.
On Saturday, Sept. 21, the Lions were looking at a doubleheader, playing Rutgers-Newark in the morning and William Paterson in the afternoon. In the match versus Rutgers-Newark, the women were only one game away from a perfect match, shutting out the opponent in 14 of the 15 matchups. The Lions easily picked up the match 9-0.
Next up was William Paterson, who put up a challenging effort against the women. The match featured several close doubles sets, but the Lions eventually came out on top, winning the match 7-2. Last on the plate for the red-hot team was Rutgers-Camden, who were no challenge for the women. They wrapped up the match with no difficulty, winning 9-0.
Since 1982 and the sponsoring of the New Jersey Athletic Conference, the Lions team has claimed every conference title, and this year was no different. The women eased their way to winning their 31st straight conference title. They only have their three-day ITA Northeast Regional tournament left on the schedule, starting next Friday, Sept. 27.