Franciscan tops Penn St.-Behrend to win Allegheny Mountain Collegiate title
WEXFORD, Pa. -- No. 1 singles player and team captain Paul Jarzynka highlighted Franciscan's 5-2 victory against Penn State-Behrend for the Allegheny Mount Collegiate Conference Championship.
The title is the program's second in three years and sends the Barons to the regional NCAA championships, making it the first FUS team in any sport to qualify for NCAA postseason competition.
Facing each other in the conference finale for the third consecutive season, the Barons bounced back from a loss a year ago.
"This is a new experience," head coach Jeremy Ellis said. "We have wanted this for so long and we have talked about this moment since the beginning of the season. This year shows their character on and off the court. They are fighters."
The Barons won two of three doubles matches for a 2-1 lead. Jarzynka and junior Brian Robau pulled out a victory against Behrend's No. 1 doubles team after a back-and-forth set ended 9-7.
"At one point we were down 3-2 and we went back and forth all match," Jarzynka said. "We knew we could beat them. Brian [Robau] told me they were nervous and it helped us gain confidence and return better."
Freshman Zack Quiza and junior Leonel Lacayo matched their teammates by winning the No. 2 doubles match 8-6 to give the Barons a one-game advantage heading into singles play.
No. 2 singles player Lacayo quickly added another point for the Barons, beating his opponent 6-0, 6-0, giving FUS a 3-1 advantage. After the Lions won No. 6 singles to pull back within one point, Robau put the Barons just one victory away from the title with a 6-2, 6-3 win in the No. 4 singles.
Jarzynka earned the final point for FUS to cap the win.
"It was so sweet to get the final victory," said Jarzynka, who won his match 7-5, 6-4. "Coach told me during the match that it was a race to get the final point between me and Zack [Quiza]. I'm glad that I got it for him."