With the America East championships approaching, the Binghamton University men’s and women’s tennis teams had an opportunity to finish the regular season strong this weekend. Both did so, beating fellow America East contenders Stony Brook University and University of Hartford in convincing fashion.
With just a week left until the America East championships, men’s head coach Adam Cohen seemed confident about his preparations for the championships.
“Physically, I think that our guys have been put through the test,” Cohen said. “Mentally, I hope that we are ready. We have played some good competition and we will get some good competition this weekend, so hopefully the guys will warm up to their level of play.”
The Bearcats (13-11) faced the Seawolves first and won by a convincing 7-0 margin over their conference rivals. Even though Binghamton had already clinched the victory, senior Alexandre Haggai showed exactly why he is No. 1 by grinding out a 7-6, 5-7, 10-6 win against sophomore Nikita Fomin.
”The double point was competitive” Cohen said. ”It came down to third doubles and each of our guys held their serve when they had to and closed out the doubles point and in singles we got a couple of good wins in the bottom to put us up 3-0 and Ruben Devos clinched the match for us. Overall the guys did all that I had asked of them.”
The Bearcats then took a break and came back to beat Hartford 6-0, sweeping the three doubles matches. The seventh game was cancelled as a dead rubber.
The women’s team (9-12) faced a tougher task against the Seawolves as they came out 4-3 winners. The Bearcats initially swept the doubles matches gaining the crucial doubles point. The Seawolves then gained the lead by winning the No. 1 and 2 singles only for senior Marina Bykovskaya to even it up by winning 7-6 (7-3), 6-3. Freshman Katherine Medianik then put on an impressive display and won in straight sets 6-3, 6-4. Stony Brook would forfeit the next match and the Bearcats would come out on top.
“We did a pretty nice job of achieving the things that we wanted to on the court,” head coach Libby McGovern said. “It is a pretty nice feeling when you walk away as a winner from matches.”
McGovern hopes for a good seeding at the America East championships as she feels that will play an important role in her team’s final standing in the conference.
”We find out on Wednesday what the seedings will be for the tournament,” she said. “I actually think that has got a lot to do with how things shake out at the end.”
McGovern said mental toughness will be key to advancing in the tournament.
“The girls have been working very hard physically,” McGovern said. “On the technical and strategic parts of the game and mentally it is always tough, because when you get down to the very end, it is basically which team can mentally control their emotions and the pressure situation the best that really ends up on top, so hopefully we have put a lot of work in. We have played a lot of tough matches this year, and the goal was to play all those tough matches so that we are mentally tough to get through the tournament.”
On Saturday, the men’s team is scheduled to travel to Flushing, N.Y. to play at the America East championships in the USTA National Tennis Center, while the women’s team is slated to travel to New Haven, Conn. to play at the America East championships at Yale University.