WILLIAMSTOWN, MA –Despite a tremendous overall effort and a pair of hard fought doubles victories, UMass Boston fell just short in their NCAA Tournament debut, falling 5-2 to regionally ranked Skidmore College in the First Round of the NCAA Division III Men's Tennis Tournament.
The Beacons and Thoroughbreds split their match into two parts; with the Beacons owning a 2-1 advantage at the outdoor Torrence M. Hunt '44 Tournament Courts, before the rain forced the two teams inside. Skidmore took over from there, winning all four singles matches on the much faster Lansing Chapman Rink Indoor Courts.
With the loss, UMass Boston finishes their season with an overall record of 14-4. The Beacons set program records for wins (14), wins in a row (12) and won their first ever Little East Conference Regular Season Title and second Little East Conference Tournament Championship.
Skidmore, the seventh-ranked team in the Northeast, moved to 12-8 on the year, as they improved to 3-5 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. The Thoroughbreds will take on MIT Friday morning at 9:30 A.M.
Skidmore opened the match by claiming the first point, recording an 8-0 win at three doubles that was authored by Gabe Steerman and Miles Ransom over Eglis Bizhoti (Dorchester, Mass.) and Seth Shavers (Boston, Mass.).
The Beacons responded, however, by capturing dramatic wins at one and two doubles behind a pair of comebacks to fashion a 2-1 lead heading into singles play.
UMass Boston tied the match at one all when Sean Cullen (Medway, Mass.) and David Hernandez (Bogota, Colombia) registered an 8-6 win at one doubles. After falling behind 5-3, Cullen and Hernandez earned a pair of breaks and dominated their hard-hitting opponents.
The Beacons took their only lead of the day at 2-1, when Alex Loyer (Chelmsford, Mass.) and Charles Lai (Boston, Mass.) held on for a tiebreaker win at number two doubles. After jumping out to 5-2 and 7-3 leads, the Beacons let Skidmore's Kit Green-Sanderson and Nick Tong come all the way back to tie the match at 8-8.
After the two pairs split the first two four points of the first to seven tiebreaker, Lai and Loyer ripped off four straight points to take a 6-2 lead. An ace by Skidmore's Kit Green-Sanderson narrowed the score to 6-3, before Loyer ended the match with a drop shot from his right to the left side of the court to cap off a 7-3 UMB tiebreaker victory.
With the win, Alex Loyer extended his personal winning streak to 26 in a row and the number two doubles pair capped off the season with a perfect 12-0 mark.
Trailing 2-1 after doubles the Thoroughbreds got down to business in singles play, winning four matches in straight sets to move into the Second Round.
Skidmore evened the match up at 2-2, when Ransom outlasted Hernandez 6-1, 6-0 at number two doubles.
The Thoroughbreds went ahead for good at 3-2, as Jimmy Sherpa wore down Cullen with a 6-0, 6-2 victory at number one singles.
Third and fourth singles proved to be much closer, as Steerman won a hard-fought 6-3, 6-0 win at number four singles over Lai, to put Skidmore within a point of the victory.
Loyer put up a tremendous effort at number three singles holding several leads throughout both sets, before falling 6-2, 7-6. The Beacons captain forced a second-set tiebreaker against Danny Knight, but couldn't keep his momentum going from doubles play.
In the two matches still out on the court, Jonah Epstein led Shavers 6-0, 2-0 at number five singles and Green-Sanderson owned a 6-0, 1-1 lead over Bizhoti at sixth-flight singles.