WEST WINDSOR, N.J. – The second-seeded Monmouth University men’s tennis team fell to top-seeded Marist, 4-2, in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tennis Championships, Sunday morning at Mercer County Park. With the loss, the Hawks’ best season in recent memory comes to a close at 16-8, while the Red Foxes improve to 15-4 and clinch a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
“I could not be more proud of our guys and the way they fought and competed until the final point,” said second-year head coach Cory Hubbard. “The difference was just one or two points, but Marist was able to convert. I feel for our guys because we have had such an incredible season and we came up just a few points short. This will be a tough loss to swallow, but I feel so lucky to coach such a great group of guys, who play with heart and play for each other. I hope they will hold their heads high because we had an incredible season. Our team showed we are on the rise and next year we will be even stronger.
Despite Victor Pugliese (Boulogne, France/CNED [San Diego]) and Christian Vieira (Houston, Texas/Memorial) earning an 8-5 win at No. 1 doubles, Marist claimed the highly contested point. Trym Nagelstad and Dalen Klassen held off Ramy Bekhiet (Robbinsville, N.J./Robbinsville) and Freddy Marcinkowski (Sparta, N.J./Sparta), 8-6, at No. 2, while Bee Kumthonkittikul (Bangkok, Thailand/Pendleton School) and Przemyslaw Filipek (Bedzin, Poland/Second Lo [Silesia], playing No. 3, suffered their first lost in 13 matches as Matteo Giudici and Joseph Dube downed the duo 8-7 (7-4).
“The doubles point was tough and it really was the difference in the match,” added Hubbard. “We had won 14 or 15 doubles points in a row, so I was concerned with how our guys would react in singles."
The Blue and White evened the score to begin singles play as Filipek cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Klassen at No. 2, but the Red Foxes captured wins at No. 3 and No. 4 to jump ahead 3-1. Vieira gave MU life with his 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 win to close within one with two matches to go, but Bjerke earned a three-set victory of his own, defeating Luke Adamus (Mosman, New South Wales/Redlands) 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 at No. 5 to clinch the title for Marist.
Hubbard continued, “Filipek played his best tennis of the season and got us right back in the match with a quick win against a very good player [at No. 2]. We got down in a 3-2 hole and our backs were against the wall, needing to win the last two matches but we were in third sets and won the second set in both. I really thought we had the momentum and were going to pull off the comeback.”
Monmouth returns 11 letterwinners to next year’s team, including all four All-MAAC singles players and Pugliese, the MAAC Player of the Year, along with three all-league doubles squads.
Tennis Match Results
Monmouth University vs Marist College
Apr 27, 2014 at MAAC Championship
Marist 4, Monmouth 2
1. Rossi, Lorenzo (MAR) vs. Pugliese, Victor (MU) 7-6 (7-5), 0-6, 2-2, unfinished
2. Filipek, Przemyslaw (MU) def. Klassen, Dalen (MAR) 6-1, 6-2
3. Reznek, Will (MAR) def. Kumthonkittikul, Bee (MU) 6-4, 6-2
4. Dube, Joseph (MAR) def. Marcinkowski, Freddy (MU) 6-4, 6-4
5. Bjerke, Fredrik (MAR) def. Adamus, Luke (MU) 6-4, 2-6, 6-3
6. Vieira, Christian (MU) def. Giudici, Matteo (MAR) 6-1, 4-6, 6-2
1. Pugliese, Victor/Vieira, Christian (MU) def. Rossi, Lorenzo/Reznek, Will (MAR) 8-5
2. Klassen, Dalen/Nagelstad, Trym (MAR) def. Bekhiet, Ramy/Marcinkowski, Freddy (MU) 8-6
3. Giudici, Matteo/Dube, Joseph (MAR) def. Kumthonkittikul, Bee/Filipek, Przemyslaw (MU) 8-7 (7-4)
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (2,3,4,6,5)