Men's Tennis Earns Second Straight A-10 Title
April 26, 2009
MONROEVILLE, Pa. - With the pressure of an NCAA berth on his shoulders, Richard Canelas smiled. The freshman won his Flight 4 match in straight sets to earn the fourth and final point n a 4-0 victory over St. Bonaventure to secure the Xavier men's tennis team's second straight Atlantic 10 Conference Championship and another spot in the NCAA Tournament.
"I can't say how proud I am of our 11 guys," XU head coach Eric Toth said. "Seven contributed to today's win, but all 11 have been important to the team's success this year, playing at various times and pushing each other throughout the year. It's very gratifying and very humbling to repeat as Atlantic 10 Champions.
"I feel six team really had a legitimate shot at winning this weekend. The Atlantic 10 is a deep conference. This weekend was not easy, but the way our guys handled it with such poise was truly impressive.
"When you have veteran team that knows how to handle themselves in tight situations, you are really going to have a chance to achieve something special like these young men did this weekend. We cannot wait to play in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year."
Canelas battled with the Bonnies' Leo Mochizuki in the first set, but eventually prevailed 7-5. He carried that momentum into the second set, earning four straight points in the decisive game to take the set, 6-2. His victory got the Musketeers to four points overall as they claimed their second A-10 tile.
Junior Chris Herrlinger put XU in position to win with a victory in his Flight 2 match, earning the team's third point. In a closely-contested first set with SBU's Jon Luce, Herrlinger stepped up to win the tiebreaker 7-2 to take the early lead. The battled continued into the second set, but Herrlinger earned one break to take the set, 6-4, and claim the victory.
Already with a one-point lead after earning the doubles point, junior J.T. Torbeck extended XU's advantage to 2-0 with a straight set victory over Victor Lecina in their Flight 6 match. Overcoming an early service break, Torbeck took the first set 6-4 and then shut down Lecina in the second set, 6-3.
XU built an early cushion, winning the doubles point by taking two of the three paired contests. Senior Ra'ees Ismail and Torbeck led the way for the Musketeers, cruising to an 8-1 victory in their Flight 2 showdown with Leo Mochizuki and Victor Lecina of the Bonnies.
After SBU claimed the Flight 3 contest, 8-3, the pressure fell on the Flight 1 match between senior Doug Matthews and Herrlinger of XU and Chris Post and Jon Luce of the Bonnies. Earning a pair of breaks early on, Matthews served out the decisive game to give the Musketeers an 8-4 victory and secure the doubles point.
Xavier will await its pairing in the NCAA Tournament, which will be announced during the selection show on Tuesday, April 28 at 5:20 p.m. The selection show will be aired on ESPNews.