BRADENTON, Fla. – Barry University’s No. 1-ranked men’s tennis team beat No. 2 Armstrong Atlantic, 6-3, Sunday at the IMG Academy. It improved the Buccaneers’ record to 7-0 this season.
“Everybody was really looking forward to play them,” Bucs coach George Samuel said. “We never take Armstrong Atlantic lightly. Even though we were on our third day of playing, everybody was ready to go.”
In the same manner the Buccaneers beat Armstrong (2-1) last year in the national title match, got out to a 3-0 lead as Barry swept the doubles. Barry’s 14-ranked duo of Fabian Groetsch and Ahmed Triki beat Pablo Gor and Jaan Kononov, 8-1, at the No. 1 spot.
“Fabian and Ahmed played very, very well at No. 1,” Samuel said.
Romain Costamagna and Leo Vivas bounced back from a No. 2 doubles loss a day earlier to defeat Pedro Scocuglia and Damian Okrutny, 8-5.
“Romain and Leo, they really turned it up when it got down to the nitty gritty,” Samuel said.
At No. 3 doubles, Ollie Lemaitre and Renato Lombardi were 8-5 winners over Ignacio Hernandez and Luca Cerin.
“We were staying with them, and then when it mattered most to close them out, we were looking for the opportunity to raise the level of our play and try to capture the match,” Samuel said. “That was huge for us. It kind of gets us motivated going into singles.”
Triki continued his brilliant play in singles, defeating the 10th-ranked Gor, 6-1, 6-2, at No. 1.
“Ahmed played flawless at No. 1 against Pablo,” Samuel said. “He just took total control of the match.”
Ranked ninth in the nation, Scocuglia beat 12th-ranked Groetsch, 6-4, 6-4, in a competitive match. It was only Groetsch’s second singles match of the season.
“It was good to get him going again,” Samuel said.
At No. 3 singles, Costamagna fell to Kononov, the 39th-ranked player in the country, 7-5, 6-3. But Barry freshman Nico Dreer delivered a big win over the 20th-ranked Hernandez, 6-3, 6-0, at No. 4.
“Nico’s singles is really starting to kick in, and he’s getting a lot of confidence,” Samuel said. “He’s beaten some good players. Playing in the top three or four positions, he’s really holding his own.”
Vivas, ranked 37th in singles, defeated Okrutny, 6-3, 6-0, at No. 5 singles.
“Leo had a tough match yesterday, but a good match,” Samuel said. “Today, Leo just raised his game. Ahmed, Nico and Leo, those three guys really stepped it up. They made the difference.”
Cerin beat Barry’s Kevin Sielmann, 2-6, 6-4, 10-5, at No. 6 singles.
“We have very good chemistry with this team,” Barry assistant coach Fred Bonal said. “They were down, and then they changed their mindset. That was the case in so many matches. We helped them to find out the way. They got the solution, and they kept responding well.
“Everybody wanted to fight, and they answered well. Even when they were winning, they didn’t get complacent. They wanted to win. It was good spirit throughout the weekend.”
The win extended the Bucs’ winning streak to 36 in a row, dating back to the start of last year.
“It’s a good feeling. I was hoping we would be able to do this this weekend to come back unbeaten,” Samuel said. “We pushed the guys quite a bit. This is the building part of our season.”