Posted: April 23, 2010
LEWISBURG, Pa. – For the first time since 2000 the Lehigh men’s tennis team has reached the Patriot League semifinals as the No. 5 seed Mountain Hawks knocked off No. 4 seed Colgate 4-1 Friday morning at Bucknell’s Varsity Tennis Courts. The Mountain Hawks dropped the doubles point but rallied to win four straight singles matches with junior Collin Laffey netting the clinching point with a three-set win at No. 2 singles. Lehigh improves to 10-11 on the season and moves into the semifinals where the Mountain Hawks will face top seed Army on Saturday.
The doubles point was tightly contested and came down to a tiebreak at No. 3 doubles. At first doubles, Laffey and junior Troy List won 8-5 over Phil Bernasek and Ruslan Goussaitnikov, but Colgate’s team of Michael Yassky and Parker Lewis beat juniors Cameron Silbert and Arnaldo Pacheco by the same score. The first point came down to No. 3 doubles where Alec Goldstein and Harry Jewett edged freshman Matt Savran and sophomore Ryan Krueger 9-8.
“We served for the doubles point twice but couldn’t win it,” said Lehigh head coach Dave Shook. “The match at No. 3 went into the tiebreaker and we lost that, so we were a little taken aback. It was disappointing to lose the doubles point but we rallied in singles. In these tournaments you have to play like there is no tomorrow and we did that.”
Lehigh began its comeback in singles play as Krueger made quick work of Connor Feuille, winning 6-0, 6-2 at No. 5 singles to tie the match at one. The Mountain Hawks’ two freshmen, Savran and Andrew Krentz gave Lehigh the lead with wins at fourth and sixth singles. Savran downed Sean Spellberg, 6-2, 6-2 at No. 4 singles, while Krentz won 6-3, 6-4 over John Beam at No. 6.
“Ryan did a great job at No. 5 avenging his loss in doubles,” said Shook. “Savran did the same thing. That’s two guys who failed to win the doubles point but battled back and both won singles matches. As a coach, you love to see that.”
The top three singles flights all came down to third sets, but Laffey sent Lehigh into the semifinals with his win over Bernasek. Laffey dropped the first set 1-6, but took the next two 6-3, 6-3. The Mountain Hawks were also leading at first and third singles when the match ended.
Next up for the Mountain Hawks is No. 1 seed Army, which received a bye into the semifinals. The Black Knights edged Lehigh 4-3 inside the Lewis Tennis Center back on March 23. Saturday’s semifinal is scheduled for a 10 a.m. start from Bucknell’s Varsity Tennis Courts.
“It was close the first time,” Shook said. “Army got their No. 2 guy back into the lineup and we got our No. 4 back from the last meeting. They’re very strong and well rested. We had a tough day at the office but we found a way to win, and I don’t think this group is ready to head home just yet.”
Lehigh 4, Colgate 1
1. List/Laffey (LU) def. Bernasek/Goussaitnikov (CU) 8-5
2. Yassky/Lewis (CU) def. Silbert/Pacheco (LU) 8-5
3. Goldstein/Jewett (CU) def. Savran/Krueger (LU) 9-8 (4)
Order of finish: 1, 2, 3
1. Troy List (LU) led Michael Yassky (CU) 3-6, 7-6, 3-2, DNF
2. Collin Laffey (LU) def. Phil Bernasek (CU) 1-6, 6-3, 6-3
3. Lee Richardson (LU) led Alec Goldstein (CU) 6-7, 6-4, 5-2, DNF
4. Matt Savran (LU) def. Sean Spellberg (CU) 6-2, 6-2
5. Ryan Krueger (LU) def. Connor Feuille (CU) 6-0, 6-2
6. Andrew Krentz (LU) def. John Beam (CU) 6-3, 6-4
Order of finish: 5, 4, 6, 2
Did not finish: 1, 3