CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 48 Binghamton University men look to defend their title and claim their sixth crown in eight years at the America East Tennis Championship on April 30-May 2 while the Bearcat women seek to dethrone Boston University in search of their first championship title. Both Binghamton squads are seeded first in their respectively conference tournaments.
Following Binghamton as the second seed on the women’s side is Boston U., which has won the last 16 consecutive championships. Stony Brook University has again captured the third seed while UMBC, University at Albany and University at Hartford enter the tournament ranked fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.
In the men’s draw, the Seawolves, who fell to the Bearcats in the finals in 2009, are ranked second followed by third-seeded UMBC. Boston U., and Hartford are seeded fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Binghamton women earn the first seed after finishing the regular season with a 14-2 record. The Bearcats ride a seven-match win streak into the championship with three of those wins coming over conference opponents. The squad will look to upset Boston U. and capture its first title with the help of juniors Lauren Bates (Buffalo, N.Y./Kenmore West) and Anna Edelman (Great Neck, N.Y./Great NeckNorth). Bates will play No. 1 singles for the squad and is only the third player in program history to reach 70 singles wins in her career. Bates is 24-8 this season at first singles. Edelman, who was ranked last week at 120th, is 15-3 on the season in singles.
The Bearcat men enter the tournament on an 18 match win streak. The team, which has posted a school record 23 wins, has also captured the highest national ranking in program history. Binghamton climbed as high as 43rd in the country this season and is ranked 48th entering the conference tournament. Junior Sven Vloedgraven (Lochem, Netherlands/Isendoorn College) has been the top player in the Northeast all spring and will lead the squad in singles with a dual match record of 21-3 at the No. 1 spot. He will also play the No. 1 doubles position with sophomore partner Gilbert Wong (Hong Kong/Diocesan Boys School). The duo is ranked sixth in the Northeast and boasts a record of 19-4 in duals.
The Terrier women, predicted to capture their 17th consecutive crown in the preseason coaches’ poll, are ranked second entering the tournament. The Boston U. women, 9-11 on the season in dual matches, are looking to defend their title and earn their 12th consecutive NCAA tournament berth. Sophomore Stefanie Nunic (New York, N.Y./Broward Virtual Education), the 2009 Most Outstanding Player and America East’s Player and Rookie of the Year, will led the squad, playing at the No. 1 singles spot.
The Seawolf men, runners –up at last year’s championship, seek to reclaim the America East crown after finishing their regular season 15-6 overall. Junior Ivan Rummel (Budapest, Hungary/Altisz Gymnasium) and senior Halvar Dil (Amersfort, Netherlands/U. Miami Online/Drake) have pulled out tight matches for the squad all season and will look to help Stony Brook upset Binghamton. Rummel is 13-7 overall this season in singles while Dil is 12-2.
Also a threat to challenge for the title, the Stony Brook women end the regular season with a 16-4 record, suffering their only loss in their last 8 matches to top-seeded Binghamton. Freshman Nini Lagvilava (Tbilisi, Georgia/Number 29) and sophomore Anna Pieschl (Gothenburg, Sweden/Katrinelund) will led the squad playing No. 1 and 2 singles. Lagvilava has had a strong rookie season, posting an overall singles record of 17-2. Pieschl is 21-2 overall on the season and captured a win over Binghamton’s Edelman to earn a national ranking of 115th.
The Retriever men, who are 16-5 on the season, seek to improve on their third-place finish from last year with the help of rookie Adam Duprat (Bobigny, France). Duprat, who captured last week’s male Tennis Player of the Week award, ends the regular season with a team-leading singles record of 17-2, playing mainly at the No. 3 singles spot.
With a win over Delaware, the UMBC women concluded their regular season with a dual match record of 15-7. The Retrievers will look to the guidance of seniors Alice Chen (North Potomac, Md./Quince Orchard) and Barbara Couto (Teresopolis, Brazil/Centrode Ensino Moderno), who both ended the regular season with wins over Delaware at the No. 1 and 6 singles spots, respectively. Chen has a dual match singles record of 10-5 at the No. 1 position while Couto is 15-5 at No. 6.
The Terrier men, 5-12 on the season, enter the tournament after beating Hartford, 4-3, on Saturday. Rookie Josh Friedman (Los Angeles, Calif./Milken Community), the only Terrier to claim a winning singles record this season, has been an asset to Boston U. at the second singles spot. The squad will need strong performances from the freshman to finish higher than its predicted fourth-place.
The 9-7 Great Dane women will play Hartford today in their final regular season match. They will then face UMBC in the first round and will look to the leadership of junior transfer Livia Gherman (Zalau Salaj, Romania/Washington State/Colegiul National Silvania), who has compiled a singles record of 9-8 overall.
Both Hartford squads enter the tournament after suffering losses at the hands of conference opponents. The men and the women have each claimed a victory during the spring, defeating both of Wagner’s squads, 7-0.
For more information about the tennis championship, visit the Championship Central. Also, check out the final 2010 male and female Tennis Player of the Week award winners.