MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – Barry University men’s tennis team won the first Sunshine State Conference regular season title in league history Sunday, beating Lynn, 7-2, on Senior Day at Buccaneer Tennis Center.
The No. 2 Buccaneers (17-2 overall, 6-0 SSC) picked up their ninth win over a nationally-ranked opponent this season, this time with a victory over the No. 8 Fighting Knights, who fell to 12-5, 5-1. It was a match that featured three exciting doubles matches and three third-set singles battles before the Bucs finally prevailed.
“It’s one of the first steps towards the big one,” senior Leo Vivas said after pairing with fellow senior Romain Costamagna in a key 8-6 No. 2 doubles victory over Vlad Cirla and Pavel Mohja. “The team got together today and played amazing. Everyone came on the court and did their best, and we got a victory. It’s a great start for the finale.”
All three of the doubles matches went down to the wire, leaving the momentum in the balance on a day where Vivas, Costamagna and Ollie Lemaitre were honored for their contributions to the men’s tennis program over the past four years. Vivas has played for Barry for three seasons, while Lemaitre and Costamagna have spent all four years in Miami Shores.
Lemaitre and Ahmed Triki, the No. 3-ranked doubles team in the country, beat Daniel Riggs and Paolo Volpicelli, 8-6, at No. 1. It gave Lemaitre 74 career doubles victories, which ranks sixth in school history.
Kevin Sielmann and Renato Lombardi won a battle at No. 3 pairs, beating Alessio Iannozzi and Tomas Prokop, 9-8 (7-5), to complete the Bucs doubles sweep.
“We knew it was important to start really strong in doubles, to try to be 3-0 up after doubles,” Costamagna said. “Leo and myself, it was a really slow start, but we fought really hard. The other two doubles were really close, too, but we won. So it’s really good to start the singles 3-0 up, and it gave us a lot of confidence starting with singles.”
Barry’s 11th-ranked Fabian Groetsch defeated the 37th-ranked Prokop, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 2 singles. Costamagna was a 6-1, 6-4 winner over the 36th-ranked Riggs at No. 3. Eighth-ranked Triki beat the 17th-ranked Cirla, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 1 to give the Bucs three wins over nationally-ranked opponents.
Mojha won a third-set tiebreaker over Vivas, 6-4, 3-6, 10-3, at No. 5. Barry’s Nico Dreer outlasted Volpicelli, 6-3, 5-7, 13-11, in a gruelling fight at No. 4. Iannozzi held on for a 7-5, 3-6, 10-6 win at No. 6 in the third three-setter of the day.
“Every match that we play now could be our last,” Vivas said. “Every time we come to the court, we have to give 100 percent, and just enjoy every moment because it could be our last here at Barry. All the guys know this, and they know we are down to the last few matches, and they know we have to bring our best in order to win.”
Senior Day didn’t take things out of perspective for Costamagna, who belted out in a loud celebration cheer after winning his doubles match with Vivas.
“I try not to think too much about it,” he said. “I try to focus on what’s coming up. To win this first title is really nice. We are really motivated for this postseason.”
“It’s hard to let go, but we have to move on,” Vivas said. “We can’t really think about that, though. I feel if we concentrate enough, and focus our emotions on winning, then it’s going to be worth it at the end.”