May 13, 2010

* Courtesy of Barry Athletics

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. - Since 2008, the Barry men's tennis team has been 0-5 against the Armstrong Atlantic Pirates including two national championship match losses; that streak has officially come to an end with a 5-2 Buccaneer win in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships on Thursday.

From the beginning of the match the intensity levels of both teams was extremely high. Not only were the intensity levels high, but also the volume levels. With shouts heard in downtown Orlando, Barry poached two doubles matches then won three singles matches to advance to the semifinals to play #11 Concordia (N.Y.) tomorrow.

"I really felt like I needed to be heard by everyone on my team today," senior Andrew Sharnov said. "I was playing next to Rafael Array and he is a very vocal player. I wanted to, as much as I could encourage my teammates throughout the match."

Last season, in both losses to Armstrong, The Bucs went up 2-1 after doubles. The first doubles match to finish was put Barry in an early hole. At number one doubles, the #10 team of Ales Svigelj and Max Wimmer fell to Armstrong's #3 team of Rafael Array and Mikk Irdoja 8-1.

Barry answered the loss at number one with a win at number three. Sharnov and Sergio Velez took a quick lead of 6-0 then slightly stumbled to by allowing Armstrong to take the match to 7-6. The veteran pair refocused and captured the match with an 8-6 win over Eudaldo Bonet and Paul Fitzgerald and tied the match at 1-1.

The last doubles pair to reach completion was Emanuel Fraitzl and Marco Mokrzycki. Fraitzl/Mokrzycki dismantled Armstrong's number two team of Matus Mydla and Daniel Regan to the tune of an 8-5 victory. With the match at 7-5, Mokrzycki delivered three straight aces capped by a Fraitzl kill to finish the match and give the Bucs a solid 2-1 going into singles.

"It's about time," head coach Dr. George Samuel said. "I just felt different today. Today we were there, everybody was in the right frame of mind this morning and throughout the match. It was extremely nice that we won two doubles. This is a dangerous team if they are firing on all cylinders and today they most definitely were."

After the start of singles, the Bucs took first sets with Svigelj at number two, Wimmer at #4, and Velez at number six. With Barry seemingly pulling away, the Pirates #11 Array tied the match at 2-2 by defeating #32 Fraitzl 7-5, 6-2. The loss is only number six on the year for Fraitzl.

In Armstrong's desperation push, the Pirates took the second set at number two singles, and number six singles.

Velez fell behind in the third set 3-2 but came back with authority and took the third set and gave Barry a 3-2 led. The Columbian native defeated Fitzgerald 6-0, 3-6, 6-3. In the third set, Fitzgerald became visibly by leg cramps and was unable to overcome the setback.

The two seniors for Barry then stepped up to the plate and delivered. At number five, Sharnov dropped his first set to Regan then elevated his game and blasted through the next two sets 6-1, 6-2. Barry only needed one more point to accomplish something they had not in the past two years.

"It got very hot out there," Sharnov said. "I definitely think we were much more accustomed to the heat and humidity than Armstrong. It played a huge factor in the match. I could tell he [Regan] was starting to get tired and worn down. I felt great out there and was able to take advantage of the heat."

With the score 4-2 and Svigelj down in set three 3-0, the senior first tied the set then supplied the final point to win the match. For the first time in his career, and on the fourth try, Svigelj defeated Bonet 6-4, 1-6, 6-4. Svigelj's match clincher is his second in two days.

Barry advances to play the Clippers of Concordia tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. On March 1, the Buccaneers defeated the Clipper by an 8-1 mark. Live stat coverage will be available through the NCAA homepage. Also, the Barry Sports Information Department will provide a live blog of the event with coverage starting around 12:30 p.m.