From the HCC sports desk:
BEL AIR, Md.—The Harford men’s tennis team finished fourth out of eight teams at the Harford National Invitational Tournament from April 4-5. The Fighting Owls amassed a total of seven points, to finish behind tournament champion Montgomery College-Rockville (17 pts), runner-up Onondaga (16) and third-place Oxford (14).
The tournament annually showcases nationally-ranked teams from across the east coast and this year featured the three top-ranked Division III teams in No. 1 Oxford, No. 2 Onondaga and No. 3 Rockville. Onondaga is the 2008 NJCAA D-III defending national champion, while Rockville was the 2008 national runner-up.
In addition to the three national powerhouses, the tournament field included No. 6 Brookdale, No. 7 Harford and No. 9 Mercer, with Harford finishing fourth (7), Mercer fifth (5), and Brookdale sixth (3), while Orange (1) and SUNY-Delhi (0) rounded out the tournament in seventh and eighth place, respectively.
Following the tournament, Harford played a dual match against Delhi, which the Owls won, 8-1, to improve to 3-2 on the season.
Harford’s tournament play was highlighted by freshman Ben Wade (Joppatowne, Md./Joppatowne), who made it to the No. 6 singles final, but fell to Onondaga’s Chris Spilka, 6-2, 6-2.
No other singles player or doubles team advanced past the semifinals for Harford, but freshman Josh Hicks (Fallston, Md./Home School) came close, opening his No. 1 singles semifinal match against Onondaga’s Eric Tresseler with a 7-6 first set win, before falling 6-3 in the second set and being narrowly edged, 7-5 in the third set.
Hicks dispatched Delhi’s Marc Docteur, 6-1, 6-0 in his first round match and would also team with freshman Josh Meier (Belcamp, Md./Home School) to defeat Orange’s Russell Scaringi and Andreas Pantaloukas, 8-2, before falling to Oxford’s Emilio Casillas and Chris Dickson, 8-1. Meier would also play at No. 2 singles where he advanced to the semis by virtue of a 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 win over Pantaloukas, but would fall to Onondaga’s Ken Schiefer, 6-1, 6-1 in the semifinal match.
Wade would team with freshman Steve Heagy (Fallston, Md./Fallston) at No. 3 doubles and fall to Mercer’s Jason Ciaccio and Neil Brower, 8-1, while Heagy reached the No. 5 singles semifinals, downing Orange’s Ray Scherma, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the first round and falling to Rockville’s Farid Vatan, 6-2, 6-3 in the semis.
Sophomore Josh Hays (Belcamp, Md./Harford Tech) and freshman Chris Blackwell (Bel Air, Md./Bel Air/RPI) would round out the doubles and singles results for Harford, as they fell to Brookdale’s Cristian Gonzalez and Kyle Smith, 8-2. Hays would also compete at No. 3 singles where he dispatched Brookdale’s Joe Stanton, 7-5, 7-5 before falling to Rockville’s Fabrice Mafune, 6-1, 6-0 and Blackwell was defeated by Smith, 6-2, 6-4 in the opening round of the No. 4 singles flight.
Rockville boasted four overall champions led by Vatan, who claimed a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Onondaga’s Jeff Kurtz in the No. 5 singles final and teamed with Mafune to defeat Oxford’s Travis Platek and Anwar Ferdinand, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the No. 2 doubles final.
Rockville would also claim victories at Nos. 1 and 4 singles, with Ross Armstrong downing Onondaga’s Tresseler, 6-3, 6-0 in the No. 1 singles final and Neal Shenk beating Brookdale’s Smith, 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the No. 4 final.
Ben Freedman would notch two victories on the weekend for Oxford as he defeated Rockville’s Mafune, 6-2, 6-3 in the No. 3 singles final and teamed with Ethan Protas to down Onondaga’s Kurtz and Spilka, 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 in the No.3 doubles final.
Dickson also claimed a victory for Oxford, dispatching Onondaga’s Schiefer, 6-3, 6-2 in the No. 2 singles final, while Schiefer teamed with Ryan Everett to win the No. 1 doubles final, 6-4, 6-2 over Oxford’s Casillas and Dickson.
Spilka rounded out the individual champions by defeating Harford’s Wade, 6-2, 6-2 in the No. 6 singles final match.