After defeating Mercyhurst University in the semifinals and Edinboro University in the finals, the Golden Bears men’s tennis team was declared Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Champions. Junior Rushi Amin was dominant on the Maple Street Courts in Indiana, PA and at the end of the event was named the tournament MVP.
Amin and company were brilliant at the PSAC Championships, which is almost expected at this point. KU won the PSAC Championship three of the last four years. In fact, the Golden Bears have 11 championships, second most in PSAC History. Unfortunately for KU, it will take at least a decade to surpass PSAC leading Bloomsburg University with 22 Championships.
Their quest to become 2013 PSAC Champions began with Mercyhurst University. Several matches were unfinished seemingly due to inclement weather. Among the unfinished matches were Amin, sophomore Matthew Maguire and sophomore Ben Nance.
KU would not lose any of their singles matches that were completed against Mercyhurst. Sophomore Varun Desai had a dominating first set of 6-0. The second set went into sets, but Desai pulled out the victory 7-5.
A pair of freshman also contributed to the win against Mercyhurst. Patricio Hernandez had a stellar PSAC debut in the No. 4 singles position. He crushed opposing tennis player Mauricio Diaz 6-0 and 6-1. KU’s Rich Lichtenwalner dominated with two 6-2 sets for another team point.
After doubles play, KU advanced by winning two of the three doubles events. All-star doubles team Amin and Desai continued their undefeated streak, serving Mercyhurst an 8-1 loss. KU won the match 5-1.
Edinboro University was the next in line for the future PSAC Champions. Again, matches were unfinished, this time due to time restraints. Desai and Lichtenwalner would have two unfinished matches.
Amin truly proved he was worthy of the PSAC MVP in not only his No. 1 singles performance, but also in his doubles play. In singles play, Amin never allowed a point against him with two 6-0 sets for the team point. Amin and Desai would compete once more together and again Amin did not allow a single set point. The dynamic duo won 8-0. Amin improved his single and doubles win streak to seven. His current doubles record with Desai is 7-0 and his individual singles record has improved to 14-1.
Maquire had two succesful performances against Edinboro in the No. 3 singles position. After losing the first set in singles play 6-3, he came back with an excellent 6-2 set win and then another dominating 6-3 point to seal a team point for KU. In addition, he and fellow sophomore Kenny Beebe earned a narrow doubles victory 9-8.
Edinboro came into the tournament with the No. 1 seed and a 16-6 record. The Golden Bears upset the fifth ranked regional team for the PSAC Championship and now a possible Nationals selection. KU is currently the fifth ranked team in the region.
On kubears.com, Head Coach Suresh Ramamurthi said, “On the first day of practice I asked the team where they wanted to be in May, and the response was a unanimous screaming that they wanted to go to nationals.”
The men’s tennis team now await for the men’s tennis NCCA selection process to unfold. This will determine their seeding for the NCAA Atlantic Regionals scheduled for Saturday, April 27.
By Frank Lippincott