Men's Tennis Sweeps No. 1 Embry-Riddle

Men's Tennis Sweeps No. 1 Embry-Riddle
Romain Costamagna emotion showed after surviving a super tiebreaker to beat an opponent he's faced three times, while playing against three different teams. All of those matches have gone to a tiebreaker. Photo by Joel Auerbach

MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- You might say Ahmed Triki was a little wet behind the ears following Barry University men's tennis team's 9-0 sweep over NAIA No. 1-ranked Embry-Riddle Sunday to cap a perfect 4-0 opening week for the NCAA Division II No. 1 Buccaneers.

Following his third set super tiebreaker win over NAIA's top-ranked Deni Zmak, 3-6, 6-4, 10-4, Triki was discussing his battle on the center court. And just like that, he didn't know what hit him. It was eerily symbolic of Zmak's powerful first serve.

"It feels great," Triki said. "It wasn't an easy match. He had a very big first serve. The second set, I changed my game a little bit."

A few seconds later, Triki needed to change his shirt after his playful Buccaneers team doused him with a celebratory "Welcome to Barry University men's tennis" water bucket bath. How did that feel for the freshman from Tunisia, you ask?

"It feels great," he said with a big smile. "After a big win, it feels great. It's OK."

Triki and the Bucs were wet with emotion indeed after completing a busy first week of tennis in picking up four victories in six days. Sunday's win was Barry's first sweep of the season over a team that is scheduled to begin competing in the Sunshine State Conference next year as a provisional member.

Playing against a familiar face, Barry senior Romain Costamagna defeated Jaime Sanchez-Canamares, 3-6, 6-4, 10-7, at No. 2 singles. It marked the third time the two have squared off against each other, albeit at three different schools. And each of the matches went to a tiebreaker, with Sanchez-Canamares getting the best of Costamagna when the two were freshmen. Costamagna met Sanchez-Canamares three years ago in California while playing for then No. 1 Fresno Pacific. Sanchez-Canamares won that match, 7-6 (10-8), 3-6, 10-8. Two years ago, with Sanchez-Canamares playing for then-No. 3 Oklahoma Christian, Costamagna outlasted his Spanish counterpart, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, at Buccaneer Tennis Center.

Sanchez-Canamares took last year off after Oklahoma Christian dropped its men's tennis program, but he found his way back to Miami Shores and into a match against Barry again.

"I said, 'If we play Barry, I'm going to end up playing (Costamagna)," Sanchez-Canamares said. "It's always a good match."

Costamagna's forehand into the far corner dotted the line to wrap up the win as the Bucs Frenchman let out his customary loud cheer after a win.

"How about that shot?" Barry longtime coach George Samuel said of Costamagna's match-clinching winner. "Right on the line."

Sunday's victory was Costamagna's first of the season.

At No. 3, Nico Dreer was fluidly efficient in his impressive win over No. 18 Simon Felix, 6-2, 6-1. Leo Vivas gutted through an opening set battle at the No. 4 spot before finally breaking Embry-Riddle's Patrick Besch's serve in the second set in a 6-4, 6-0 victory to secure the Bucs match-clinching fifth point. 

No. 41 Kevin Sielmann won a battle against No. 38 Miguel Gomez, 3-6, 7-5, 10-8, at No. 5. Fighting through adversity the entire way, Sielmann got stronger as the match wore on, delivering big points in crunch time. His powerful forehand was unwaveringly at its best when he needed it most. Barry's Franco Echenique was on auto-pilot in his 6-2, 6-1 triumph over Luke de Caires at No. 6.

In doubles play, Fabian Groetsch and Triki, ranked 14th in NCAA Division II, won 8-5 over NAIA's top-ranked duo of Zmak and Felix, at the No. 1 pairs spot. Costamagna and Vivas needed a tiebreaker to decide their 9-8 (7-1) No. 2 doubles win over Sanchez-Canamares and Besch. Ollie Lemaitre and Renato Lombardi defeated Gomez and de Caires, 8-4, at No. 3.

Barry will take nearly two weeks off before playing Eckerd on the road Feb. 21.