The Berkeley College men's tennis team picked up a huge victory on Friday evening, turning back Pratt Institute by a score of 6-3 in the Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament semifinals. The match took place at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY.
The victory was the fourth consecutive triumph for the Knights (5-2 Overall), who will now advance to the championship match at that same aforementioned venue on Sunday, as Berkeley will take on Culinary Institute of America for the title. The Knights will be looking to avenge last season's 5-4 loss to the Steels in the championship contest. Pratt Institute finalized its season at 5-4 with the defeat.
The Knights jumped ahead early in this one, capturing two of the three doubles flights. The Cannoneers did solidify a victory at No. 2, as Eli Eskenazi and Simon Salazar turned back Rajah Ulrich Mopoundza and Nicolas Echavarria by a score of 10-1. Berkeley College then evened the match, 1-1, when Johnathan Wilson and Victor Marotta recorded a 10-5 win at the No. 1 flight, downing Pratt's Rongxin Zhang and Ben Erickson. No. 3 doubles saw the Knights' Sebastien Rousseau and Alexander Maurmann defeated the Cannoneers' Johnson Meng and Hubert Chen, 10-7 is a very tough flight.
When play switched over to singles, Berkeley College claimed victory in four of the six flights to account for the 6-3 final score. Pratt Institute would tie the match 2-2, when Eskenazi defeated Mopoundza 10-0 at No. 3 singles. The Cannoneers would then grab a 3-2 advantage with Salazar's 10-1 victory over Massignani. The Knights would win the next four singles flights, though, with Rousseau beating Chen, 10-7 at No. 5, Wilson defeating Erickson at No. 1 (11-10, 10-6), Marotta downing Rongxin Zhang at No. 2 (10-5), Maurmann outlasting Johnson at No. 6 (10-6). Following the match, Head Coach Jeff Menaker gave his thoughts.
"I'm very proud of the effort shown by our guys here this evening, as they really gave it their all, and it paid off tremendously," Menaker said. "We have an opportunity now to finalize this season in grand fashion on Sunday, but we also know that the Steels will pose an incredible challenge. We are all looking forward to the championship match."
Berkeley College and Culinary Institute of America's championship contest begins at 12:00pm on Sunday afternoon. Keep it posted to BerkeleyCollegeKnights.com for a full recap of that match upon its conclusion!