Men’s Tennis Out for Three-PeatBack-to-back champs start strong
Staff Writer Looking to make it three straight CUNYAC titles, the Hunter College men’s tennis team has officially started their 2012 campaign. Their conference foes are eager to knock them off their perch as back-to-back champions. It won’t be easy. Despite losing two of their starting six players to graduation, the Hawks line-up boasts talent from top to bottom.
Sophomore Robbie Frischling-Sosman fully expects the team to at least make it back to the CUNYAC final, where they will likely meet rival Baruch College’s improved team in a rematch of the 2011 final.
“We have a different team this year then we have had in the past, but I have full confidence in my team that we can accomplish our goals,” he said. “We practice almost every day and we push each other to get better. The team is really close off the court, which definitely helps.”
Fourth year Coach Eric Metzger agrees. His goal is not only to repeat as CUNYAC champs, but also to advance in the NCAA tournament, where the best division three teams from around the nation square off. “The past two years we’ve lost in the first round of NCAAs, but this year we want to change that,” says the Univer- sity of Montana graduate. “The team continues to impress me with how hard they work, and I really believe we can do it.” The men had their first match on March 8, when they hosted the Manhattanville College Valiants. The Hawks started the match and the season brightly, taking first and second doubles with relative ease. At third doubles, it was a different story. Frischling-Sosman and his partner, junior Binh Luu, found themselves down three games to seven, and two points away from defeat. From there, though, the pair stormed back to take the win with a score of 9-8 (11-9).
“We kept fighting, and in the end, we were able to pull out the win,” said Frischling-Sosman. “It would have been nice to start off with a more straightforward win, but comebacks are always fun too.”
In singles play, junior standout Yevegeny Perpelov breezed by Michael Capozzi in first singles with a score of 6-1, 6-4, while teammate junior Luis Quintero dismantled Dean Tahir 6-1, 6-1 at sec- ond singles. With the two singles wins, the Hawks clinched the necessary five matches to win the match. Junior Arthur Kapetanakis won a closer 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 decision in the third spot to give the Hawks their sixth and final match win on the day. Manhattanville took third through sixth singles, but the Hawks were still earned a 6-3 victory.
“Manhattanville is a strong team and their lineup has depth, but I’m really happy we were able to come together and win for Hunter,” says Frischling-Sosman.
The Hawks second match was against Rutgers-Newark on March 10. Despite missing Perpelov and Quintero, their top two players, the men were able to hold their own and defeat the Scarlet Raiders 7-2. Kapetanakis rose to the occasion by winning his first singles match with relative ease with a score of 6-0, 6-3. At doubles, him and sophomore Irving Salazaar had a tight match but were able to grab a 9-7 win, spoiling the Scarlet Raiders home opener.
“We didn’t have our full lineup at this match, so everyone had to play up a few spots,” says Frischling-Sosman. “But thankfully everyone played their best ten- nis so were able to win.”
At 2-0, the Hawks still have a long way to go before staking their claim to another title. Baruch will pose a strong threat this year, as the runners up form 2012 have brought in a strong recruiting class for this season. Still, the Hawks remain confident. As back-to-back defending champions, they have every right to be.