BROOKLYN, NY – The St. Joseph's College men's tennis team defeated Sarah Lawrence College 7-2 on Friday evening and City Tech 5-4 on Monday evening for their first wins of the 2009 season.
In the match against Sarah Lawrence, Ed Han (McLean, VA/W.T. Woodson) and Mohammed Ali Bhatti(Brooklyn, NY/James Madison) paced the Bears edging out a 10-8 tiebreak victory at #1 doubles. Bhatti also won at #2 singles. Luke Klimaszewski (Queens, NY/St. John's Prep) also notched two wins at #4 singles in a close 12-10 tiebreak and teaming up with Jon Matzelle (Queens, NY/St. Francis Prep) at #2 doubles for a 10-3 victory.
Propelled by the momentum of their victory on Friday night, the Bears took on City Tech in a match played nearby at Pratt Institute. St. Joseph's won all three doubles matches in decisive fashion. Han and Bhatti teamed up for their fifth win of the season, 8-1. Matzelle and Klimaszewski won their second straight doubles match, 8-5. Anthony Grasso (Queens, NY/St. John's Prep) and Matt Walsh (Queens, NY/Long Island City) won their first match of the season 8-1.
Holding a 3-0 lead, the Bears seemed poised to cruise to an overall victory only needing to win two singles matches. Han captured his second singles win, holding his opponent Mervyn Wilson at love. St. Joseph's however fell behind in the four ongoing matches and struggled to find the second win to clinch the match. With Bhatti, Klimaszewski and Alejandro Osborne (Queens, NY/St. John's Prep) all losing, the fate of the team match fell into the hands of Matzelle and Walsh.
The Matzelle/Jay Chenmatch at #3 singles remained tied at 4-4 and both players exchanged games until reaching the tiebreak. In a match that started later, Walsh held firm down one break to James Samuel. In the Matzelle/Chen tiebreaker, neither player could pull away until Matzelle took a 9-6 lead for three match points, before finally clinching the win for St. Joseph's with a 8-7 (10-8) victory.
With all the matches completed, all the focus turned to the Walsh/Samuel match. Down 7-5, Walsh brought the match back on serve and then held serve to go to a tiebreak, determined to pick up his first win of his career. In the tiebreaker, an exhausted Walsh traded points with Samuel, but a couple of close points that didn't fall in Walsh's favor gave Samuel the 8-7 (7-4) victory.
St. Joseph's faces their toughest stretch in the final week of the season, playing four consecutive matches and concluding with the HVMAC Tournament on Saturday. The Bears face Webb Institute on Tuesday night in a conference match at the National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY starting at 7 p.m.