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Men’s Tennis Downs Opponents Trinity and Rochester To Repeat as NCAA Division III Northeast Champions

By Robert Aronstam

STAFF WRITER

The men’s tennis team upped their record to 20-3 over the weekend with two big wins.

MIT repeated as NCAA Division III Northeast Regional Champions by defeating the University of Rochester and Trinity College. The two victories secured a spot for the Engineers in the NCAA Division III National Championships in Indiana next weekend.

MIT, Trinity square off in finals

In the finals match on Sunday, MIT met up with Trinity College. The Engineers had previously beaten Trinity 4-3 during the regular season, so the match was likely to be close.

“The match will probably rely on the doubles point,” said co-captain Anish S. Parikh ’01.

The match began favorably for MIT as the doubles teams came through with victories. The number three team of Ricardo Rossello ’01 and Michael H. Ogrydziak ’04 were the first to complete their match. They were soon followed by the number one doubles team of Jeffrey P. Augustyn ’03 and Andrew V. Kolesnikov ’03 who trounced their opponents 8-5.

Hernandez clinches victory

Marco Hernanez ’03 pulled off a dramatic come-from-behind win to ensure an Engineer match victory. With the top two singles players losing, Hernandez also fell behind in his match. The odds were stacked against Hernandez as his opponent won the first set 6-1 and led 5-0 in the second set and 30-love in the sixth game.

Hernandez continued to fight, knowing that the team’s future may depend on the outcome of his match.

“I tried to keep [the match going] as long as I could,” said Hernandez. Hernandez managed to keep the match going long enough to force a second set tiebreaker.

After winning the tiebreaker, Hernandez dominated the final set. He blanked his opponent 6-0 in the third set. This outcome silenced the rowdy Trinity supporters and sparked MIT celebrations.

Hernandez, reflecting on what he was thinking when he was on the brink of losing his match, recalled a match from his youth that had a similar outcome. “When I was young I had a match and I pulled [a comeback] off,” Hernandez said. “And [today] I tried to do it again. This is my court and I knew that the game was going to depend on me.”

Luke D. Tomycz ’02 also won his match, as did Ogrydziak and co-captain Rossello.

Engineers sweep Rochester

MIT easily defeated the University of Rochester in Saturday’s match. The Engineers claimed the doubles point to begin the match. The first doubles team won their match with a service break in the final game and the match ended with a score of 8-6.

The singles matches also fared well for MIT. The top singles player, Augustyn, coasted to a 6-0 6-0 win. Augustyn’s match consisted of mostly short points that were decided by unforced errors.

The number two singles match was much more competitive, however. Kolesnikov, MIT’s number two, won his match by a second set tiebreaker.

Battling windy conditions, Kolesnikov claimed the first set 6-4, despite numerous double faults. Kolesnikov continued to have trouble in the second set, as he went down a break early in the set. He finally recovered in the 10th game and broke his opponent to tie the score 5-5.

In the next game, Kolesnikov was broken back, despite two aces in the game. Not surrendering, Kolesnikov countered with another service break. In the second to last point of the tiebreaker, Kolesnikov painted the line with a forehand winner. A Rochester ball sailed long on the next point, ending the match, 6-4, 7-6.

The men march on to their final destination, the national championship tournament at DePauw University in New Castle, Indiana.