Bucs Fall in Region Championship

Bucs Fall in Region Championship
Ollie Lemaitre played with great passion all year, but the Bucs' season came to a close. Photo by Lance Thomas

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Barry men's tennis team had beaten its rival two weeks earlier to win the league championship.

But after weather pushed the South Region title match back a week, the Buccaneers didn't have their best stuff in a 5-2 loss to host Lynn Sunday.

Ranked No. 4 in the nation, the Bucs' season came to an end in what has become another routine battle in this growing rivalry of Sunshine State Conference teams.

Barry (22-6) had No. 3 Lynn (19-3) where it wanted after doubles, sitting on a 2-1 lead. The Bucs and Knights hadn't swept each other in doubles in the three dual matches this year. On this day, Barry got the best of Lynn in pairs play.

After Lynn's No. 3-ranked Willi Wolfer and Vlad Cirla got by No. 9 Marco Mokrzycki and Leo Vivas, 8-5 at the No. 1 spot, the Buccaneers grabbed the momentum with a pair of exciting doubles wins. Fabian Groetsch and Daniel Schmidt, who won their last five matches of the season together, held off Amaury Van Haelen and Max Kouyate, 9-7 at No. 2.

Barry's Ollie Lemaitre and Romain Costamagna gave the Bucs a big lift with an 8-6 victory over Luca Pavanelli and Alessio Iannozzi at the No. 3 flight. Lemaitre and Costamagna beat the same Knights duo by an identical score at the SSC Championships.

The Bucs' No. 3 tandem won four of their last five matches together at the end of the season.

Lynn, despite playing without the No. 40-ranked Pavanelli, who was ruled out by an official after doubles competition, rallied to take a 3-2 lead with a pair of top tier singles wins. Benji Kendall beat Costamagna, 6-1, 6-2, at No. 3. Wolfer, ranked 13th in the country, upset fifth-ranked Mokrzycki, 6-1, 7-5, at the top flight.

Van Haelen gave the Knights a 4-2 lead with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Vivas at No. 5.

Fighting to hold on, Barry needed to win the remaining three singles matches to extend its season.

Ranked 19th in the country, Groetsch, who beat 18th-ranked Cirla to win the SSC title, dropped the opening set, 7-5. Groetsch trailed in the second set before battling back to take a 6-5 lead. Cirla tied the match at 6-6 before wrapping it up for Lynn when he won the tiebreaker, 7-4.

Lemaitre split the first two sets with Kouyate at No. 6, winning the first 6-4 and dropping the second 6-1. He battled to a 5-4 lead in the third set before the match was halted. Schmidt also split sets with Iannozzi, winning 6-1 in the first before falling 6-4 in the second. Schmidt was ahead 4-3 in the third before the match ended.

The loss ended Barry's run of four straight trips to the national championship, the Bucs winning the 2010 Division II title.