Bearcats Take Conference Tournamentís Top Seeds
Last season, the Bearcat men won the title, defeating UMBC, 4-0. The Bearcat women earned the runner-up trophy in 2010, falling to Boston University, 3-4, in the final match.
On the men’s side, Binghamton is followed by last year’s runner-up, No. 2 UMBC. Boston U. grabbed the No. 3 seed, while Stony Brook University and University of Hartford are seeded No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.
For the women, Binghamton garnered the top seed while Boston U., which carries 17 consecutive America East title into this year’s tournament, is seeded second. The No. 3 seed went to Stony Brook University while UMBC garnered the No. 4 seed. University at Albany is seeded fifth while University of Hartford rounded out the group with the No. 6 seed.
The Binghamton men will look to win their fourth consecutive America East Championship and their seventh title in nine years. Two-time America East Player of the Year, senior Sven Vloedgraven (Lochem, Netherlands/Isendoorn College), leads the Bearcats. Vloedgraven is 30-7 in singles play this season and is ranked No. 80 in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Senior Arnav Jain (Mumbai, India/J.M.L. School), who recently earned his 100th career singles victory, plays out of the No. 2 slot for the Bearcats. The Bearcats went 3-0 against America East foes this spring, dropping just one set in the three matches.
The Retriever men, last year’s runner-up, earned the No. 2 seed thanks to senior Mwali Phiri (Yonkers, N.Y./Tyler JC) and junior newcomer Rasid Winklaar (Willemstad, Curacao/Abraham Baldwin). The two combined for 25 singles victories this season and recently paired up to form UMBC’s No. 2 doubles squad. In singles, Phiri plays out of the No. 6 slot while Winklaar has been solid as the No. 2 player.
Boston U. took the No. 3 seed after beating Hartford, 7-0, to close out its regular season. Junior Michael Kopelman (Treasure Island, Fla./St. Pete Catholic) and sophomore Josh Friedman (Los Angeles, Calif./Milken Community) have both earned America East Player of the Week honors this season as they help solidify the middle of the Terrier lineup.
Stony Brook is the fourth seed in this year’s tournament. Freshman Nikita Fomin (Moscow, Russia/Bradenton) leads the Seawolves in the top singles spot. Fomin has compiled a 12-5 record during his freshman campaign, including 10-5 from the No. 1 position.
Hartford rounds out the men’s field at No. 5. The Hawks, whose roster features five sophomores and two freshmen, will look to junior Aneil Bhalla (Ottawa, Ontario/Merivale) to provide veteran guidance to the young squad.
In the women’s bracket, Binghamton again earned a top seed and is looking to dethrone the Boston U. dynasty and win its first America East title. The Bearcats feature a pair of record-breaking seniors in Anna Edelman (Great Neck, N.Y./Great Neck North) and Lauren Bates (Buffalo, N.Y./Kenmore West). Edelman set the school mark for season wins with her 32 singles victories this season. Bates has a school-best 88 singles wins in her career. The pair helped lead the Bearcats to their first-ever win over Boston U. with a 4-3 victory on April 10.
To get that title, Binghamton will have to go through Boston U. The Terriers have won 17 straight America East Championships, including the title in 2010, when they beat the Bearcats, 4-3, in the final as the tournament’s No. 2 seed. The Terriers boast a potent lineup headed by two-time America East Player of the Year, junior Stefanie Nunic (New York, N.Y./Broward Virtual Education). Nunic will look for help from junior Petra Santini (Sibenik, Croatia/Gimnazija Za Dopisno Obrazovanje Birotehnika) and sophomore Vivien Laszloffy (Budapest, Hungary/Thomas Mann Gymnasium), a pair of key players who have spent the last month nursing injuries.
The Stony Brook Seawolves are the No. 3 seed in this year’s tournament behind the strong play of sophomore Nini Lagvilava (Tbilisi, Georgia/Number 29). Lagvilava, the 2010 America East Rookie of the Year, posted a 12-4 singles record this spring, including 8-4 from the top spot in the order. Junior Salome Mkervalidze (Brewster, N.Y./Brewster) bolsters the end of the lineup with an 11-0 singles record this season.
UMBC enters the 2011 conference tournament as the No. 4 seed. Freshman No. 1 Kim Berghaus (Offenbach, Germany/Leibnizgymnasium) leads the Retriever squad. Berghaus reached the 20-win mark this spring, posting marks of 10-3 in doubles and 10-5 in singles. Sophomore Julia Gregara-Cano (Badajoz, Spain/Fresno State) also posted a 10-5 singles record.
Albany earned the No. 5 seed for the America East Championship after ending the season with a sweep of Hartford on Tuesday. The Great Danes received a solid performance from their top player, senior Susan Ma (Parkville, Mo./Park Hills South), who dropped just three games in a straight-set win at No. 1 singles. Ma pairs with junior Aubrey Brooks (Guilford, Conn./Guilford) for Albany’s top doubles squad.
Hartford plays as the No. 6 seed as it looks for its first match win in the conference tournament since a consolation win in 2004. Junior Maggie Sabatino (Antioch, Ill./Antioch), who has played much of the season in the top two spots in the lineup in both singles and doubles, leads the Hawks.
The 2011 America East Tennis Championships begin Friday, April 29 at the Yale Tennis Center in New Haven, Conn., at 1 p.m. when No. 4 UMBC squares off against No. 5 Albany and No. 3 Stony Brook plays No. 6 Hartford in the women’s first round. Men’s action kicks off at 3 p.m. with No. 4 Stony Brook taking on No. 5 Hartford in the first-round match up.
For more information on the 2011 America East Tennis Championships, visit Championship Central at AmericaEast.com.
Women’s Match #1 (First Round) - No. 4 UMBC vs. No. 5 Albany, 1 p.m .
Women’s Match #2 (First Round) - No. 3 Stony Brook vs. No. 6 Hartford, 1 p.m.
Men’s Match #1 (First Round) - No. 4 Stony Brook vs. No. 5 Hartford, 3 p.m .
Women’s Match #3 (Consolation) - W. Match #1 Loser vs. W. Match #2 Loser, 10 a.m.
Men’s Match #2 (Semifinals) - No. 1 Binghamton vs. M. Match #1 Winner, 10 a.m.
Men’s Match #3 (Semifinals) - No. 2 UMBC vs. No. 3 Boston U., 10 a.m.
Women’s Match #4 (Semifinals) - No. 1 Binghamton vs. W. Match #1 Winner, 1 p.m.
Women’s Match #5 (Semifinals) - No. 2 Boston U. vs. W. Match #2 Winner, 1 p.m.
Women’s Match #6 (Championship Final) - W. Match #4 Winner vs. W. Match #5 Winner, 11 a.m.
Men’s Match #4 (Championship Final) - M. Match #2 Winner vs. M. Match #3 Winner, 11 a.m.