DELAND, Fla. – Fairleigh Dickinson captured its first tournament championship of the 2012-13 season at the Bethune-Cookman Wildcat Invitational on Sunday. The Knights defeated Sam Houston State to claim the tournament crown for the consecutive year.
The Knights defeated Sam Houston 4-3 in a best-of-seven Baker match to win the tournament championship.
FDU concluded the weekend with a 9-3 record.
As the top seed, the Knights faced second seed Sam Houston in the opening match of the day. The Knights dropped the first of the best-of-seven match 237-191 before bouncing back with three consecutive wins with scores of 234-225, 218-190 and 247-225. The Bearkats battled back to win the next three games 274-211, 241-228 and 236-226 to come from behind. With the win, SHSU earned a bye to the championship round.
“In our sport there is no defense,” head coach Mike LoPresti said. “Once they got locked in, there was not much we could do to stop them aside from trying to outscore them. We were close at the end, but just not close enough.”
While FDU fell to Sam Houston, Northeast Conference foes Adelphi and Monmouth faced each other in the three seed/four seed game to stay alive for the championship. Aldephi defeated Monmouth 4-1 to earn a chance to take on FDU.
The Knights took the first two games against Adelphi 238-148 and 196-171 before AU fought back with wins of 228-195 and 221-214 to tie the match at two games each. In the final two games, FDU outscored Adelphi 248-217 and 192-177 to earn the win.
The win earned FDU a chance for a rematch with Sam Houston State in the tournament championship match.
The first two games were decided by one pin, with SHSU winning the first 234-233 and FDU winning the second 195-194. The teams traded wins in games three and five before Sam Houston took a 226-195 win in game six to even the match at three.
The Knights won game seven in impressive fashion with a score of 228-147 to capture the tournament victory.
“It was great for our rookies to get this experience, especially with championship play,” LoPresti said “but it came down to our experienced players, who really produced in the big matches.
“Overall this was a tremendous start to the season. A lot of growth is needed throughout the season but it definitely sets us in the right direction.”
Sophomore Liat Vizenfeld was named the tournament MVP with a 202.4 average and a total pinfall of 1,012 through five games. Senior Danielle McEwan also made the All-Tournament team with an average of 196 and a total pinfall of 980.