May 2, 2008
Fredericksburg, Va. -
The Neumann College men's tennis team took on Stevens Institute of Technology men's tennis team today in a first round match up in the NCAA Division III Men's Tennis Championships. Neumann entered the match as the fifth seeded team in the region while Stevens entered the match as the favored fourth seed. While the Knights put up a valiant effort they were not able to overcome the better play of Stevens and fell to their opponents 5-0.
In doubles play Neumann fell behind quickly as Stevens demonstrated outstanding net play and controlled the tempo in the early going. At first doubles seniors John Slinka and Andrew Bitar could not get out from under the pressure put on them by Stevens' Ricky Bawa and Piotr Rusinkiewicz. The Knights first doubles team would go down 8-1.
In second doubles the pair of senior Barry Harvey and sophomore Dan Harnos took on Jay Lee and Arik Zeevy from Stevens. Harvey and Harnos jumped out to an early 1-0 but were quickly taken over by the Stevens pair. Once again play at the net determined the outcome as the Knights were not able to handle the pressure applied by Stevens. Harvey and Harnos would 8-3.
In the final doubles match, third doubles, freshmen Chris Brown and Greg Bridgeman got down early, came back and fell just short of making a great run. Down 6-3 in the middle of the match Brown and Bridgeman showed why they can become special players. They mounted a charge to make the score 6-5 before losing 8-5 as they both missed shots by inches to keep the momentum.
Down 3-0 for the first time all year the Knights looked to regain their composure in singles play. The Knights have been down before coming out of doubles and had been able to rely on their singles play to pull out the victory. Head Coach Chris Gosseaux hoped for a similar result.
However, Stevens was able to dominate the Knights with their play at the net and from the baseline. With the exception of Slinka the Knights lost all of their first sets in singles play. Slinka beat Rusinkiewicz 6-3 in the first set. Brown went down 6-3 to Zeevy. Brigdeman fell to Bawa 6-2 at second singles. Harnos lost to Ringstad 6-3 at fourth singles while Bitar fell to Lee 6-1 at fifth singles. Harvey playing at his normal spot at sixth singles fell to Stevens Kobe Attias 6-0.
With little options left for them to play the Knights gave it one final push. Slinka stormed to a 2-1 lead in his second set but just as he gained an advantage the Knights saw Stevens post a win at second singles and then at sixth singles to clinch the match. Bridgeman fell at second singles 6-2, 6-0 and Harvey fell at sixth singles 6-0, 6-0.
The Knights can still be proud of their season. They are the first men's tennis team to reach the NCAA tournament in Neumann College history. They are also the first men's team to compete in an NCAA tournament. They won the conference championship for the first in the program's history and posted the best record in men's tennis history at Neumann College. Coach Gosseaux summed up the season saying, "We had a fantastic year. We should not hang our heads because of today. Today was a learning experience for us and we will this opportunity to get better and ready for next season. I am proud of this team, very proud of this group of seniors. Slink, Harvey, Bitar - I could not have asked for better leadership."
Neumann College Athletics Men's Tennis