CHAMPS! Men’s Tennis Claims First-Ever GNAC Crown with 5-0 Victory over Ramapo

CHAMPS! Men’s Tennis Claims First-Ever GNAC Crown with 5-0 Victory over Ramapo

QUINCY, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene College men's tennis team captured the program's first-ever conference championship with a 5-0 win to dethrone six-time defending champion Ramapo in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Tournament title match Saturday afternoon at the ENC Tennis Courts.

The 2019 GNAC men's tennis championship marks the College's first conference crown since the ENC women's basketball team captured the 1999-2000 Commonwealth Coast Conference title en route to reaching the NCAA Tournament "Sweet Sixteen".

The Lions improve to 16-7 on the year and secures the team's first-ever NCAA Tournament berth with the league's automatic qualifying bid. The Roadrunners finish the season with a 10-6 overall record.

Junior Henry Siercke (Hamburg, Germany) was named the GNAC Tournament Most Valuable Player while Julius Opaschowski (Hamburg, Germany) and Diego Rodriguez (Barquisimeto, Venezuela) were selected to the GNAC All-Tournament Team along with Siercke.

The hosts swept the doubles matches to earn a 3-0 advantage.

Opaschowski and Siercke bested Mike Abelev and Cyrus Dastparvardeh 8-3 at the No. 1 doubles slot.

Tim Schoengens (Inden, Germany) and Rodriguez posted an 8-4 victory at the second doubles position over Alex Kogut and Set Fry.

Alberto Escobar (Sevilla, Spain) and Kyle Pierson (Redding, Calif.) defeated Kevin Ilinets and Bryce Blumenthal at the No. 3 spot.

Eastern Nazarene notched a pair of singles victories to clinch the championship.

Schoengens posted a 6-0, 6-1 win at the No. 5 singles position over Josh Halperin to extend the Lions' lead to 4-0.

Rodriguez locked up the conference title with a straight-sets win at the No. 4 singles spot, downing Ilinets 6-2, 6-1.

When the match reached decision, Siercke and Opaschowski owned one-set leads while Escobar trailed by a set and Pierson had just started at the sixth singles match.

"Our guys showed nothing but extraordinary team effort today," said 16th-year head coach Cristian Popa. "We've put in a lot of work for the last few years and today it paid off!"

The Lions will learn their NCAA Tournament destination and opponent when the NCAA Tournament Selection Show airs Monday, May 6.