TCNJ's Pierce Cooper
TCNJ Athletics

LONGMEADOW, Mass. -- Sweeping doubles play, The College of New Jersey powered to a 5-1 triumph against Babson College in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Division III Men’s Tennis Championship on Thursday at Grande Meadows Tennis Club.

With Pierce Cooper’s fifth singles triumph clinching the win, the Lions (15-1) advanced to meet host Amherst College in second-round play at 9 a.m. ET Friday. The match is scheduled to be played outdoors on the Amherst campus with Grande Meadows serving as the backup rain location.

Babson concluded its season at 11-9 after Roberto Perez earned the Beavers’ lone point with a win at first singles.

The Lions jumped out to a quick start at second doubles as TJ Riley and Jack August set down Perez and Victor Vu 8-3. The contest at No. 1 doubles stayed close at the start, with Babson’s Ramone Doyley and Connor DeFiore drawing within one at 4-3 before Marc Nichols and Howard Telson eventually pulled away for the 8-5 win and a 2-0 TCNJ lead.

With all eyes turning to the conclusion of third doubles, the Beavers' Mitchell Henry and Saif Rahim rallied from a 5-4 deficit, breaking to go up 6-5 then holding serve to 8-7. But Jordan Cruz and Cooper notched the key break to even the count and were too strong in the tiebreak, winning the final two points after Babson had tied it 5-5 as the Lions' No. 3s completed the comeback 9-8 (7-5) for a 3-0 TCNJ lead heading into singles competition.

Cruz built the Lions' cushion to 4-0 as he powered to a 6-3, 6-3 win at sixth singles against Babson’s Davin Garcia, but the Beavers notched their lone point moments later when Perez completed his triumph against Nichols at No. 1, 6-2, 6-2.

With second and third singles each heading to a third set, Henry prolonged the match for Babson at No. 4, rallying from a 40-5 hole to break first-set winner Telson and even the second at 5-5. The Lions would not be denied for long, however, as Cooper rallied from a 3-2 deficit early in the second set to complete a 7-5, 6-3 clincher at No. 5 against DeFiore.

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