QUEENS, N.Y. (September 18, 2018) – The Franklin Pierce University men's tennis team was in action over the weekend, as the squad opened its fall season at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association East Regional, hosted by Adelphi University and Queens (N.Y.) College at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The Ravens had several strong showings at the multi-day event, as sophomore Roberto Chong (Puigpunyent, Spain) advanced to the round of 16 in the singles draw, while the team of junior Yuval Barak (Zicron Ya'akov, Israel) and freshman Preston Gordon (Essex Junction, Vt.) did the same in the doubles draw.
The ninth seed in the singles draw, Chong had the most impressive showing of the weekend for the Ravens. To open, he cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Vincent Huynh of Stonehill in the first round. Chong followed up with a harder-fought, 7-5, 6-4 win over Emmanuel Vacalares of Southern New Hampshire in the second round.
Chong's run ended in the third round, but not before he locked horns with fifth-seeded William Lindqvist Nilsson of Concordia (N.Y.) in perhaps the weekend's most competitive match. Chong claimed the first set, 7-6, after prevailing in the tiebreak, 8-6, and would ultimately have three match points in the contest. However, Nilsson answered with a 7-5 tiebreak win of his own to claim the second set, 7-6. The tiebreak set then went past the scheduled 10 points as well, with Nilsson ultimately pulling out a 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5), 1-0 (12-10) victory to advance.
Elsewhere in the singles draw, senior James Bisazza (West Barnstable, Mass.) played as the sixth seed and earned a first-round bye, through to the round of 32. However, he was upended there in the second round, as he came up on the short end of a 7-6 (6), 6-4 decision against Kareem Rashad of Queens.
Two Ravens played their way out of the two-round qualifying draw and into the main singles draw. Gordon chalked up an 8-3 win over Matthew Cruz of Roberts Wesleyan and then an 8-5 win over Patrick O'Brien of Daemen to advance into the main draw and the round of 64. His run ended there though, as Richard Sac of Queens posted a 6-3, 6-4 win. Meanwhile, sophomore Nkrumah Patrick (Tunapuna, Trinidad & Tobago) ran up an 8-3 win over Dennis Barlotta of Roberts Wesleyan and an 8-6 in over Boma Novak of University of the Sciences in qualifiers, before being downed, 6-2, 6-2, by Diego Espiniella of NYIT in the round of 64.
On the doubles side of things, Barak and Gordon made the deepest run, as they advanced all the way through to the third round. In the first round, the duo squeaked past Jacob Lawrence and Jameson Keppeler of Assumption, 9-7, before rolling over the fourth-seeded duo of Espiniella and Maxton Cook of NYIT in the second round, 8-2. In the round of 16, Barak and Gordon were ultimately doubled up by David Gonzalez and Ricardo Ruiz Martinez of Daemen, 8-4.
Both of Franklin Pierce's other doubles teams posted first round victories before bowing out in the round of 32. Bisazza and senior Andrew Schadt (Tolland, Conn.) teamed for a tight, 9-8 win over David Robres and David Leader of Adelphi, and then jumped out to a 3-0 lead over the top-seeded pair of Eymric Chevalier and Michele Fenoaltea of Concordia. However, the Concordia duo bounced back for an 8-4 victory. Meanwhile, Patrick and Chong notched an 8-5 win over Maksim Bahdanovich and Josip Marinic of University of the District of Columbia, before falling to Tyler Clontz and Frank Vega of Merrimack, 8-3.
Franklin Pierce had three other singles players who were eliminated before they could play their way out of the qualifying bracket. Barak was eliminated in his opening match, 9-8, at the hands of Matthew Forrest of Roberts Wesleyan. Senior Marcus Lawrence (Acton, Mass.) fell in his opening match as well, 8-4, to Clontz. Finally, Schadt posted an 8-6 win over NYIT's Matthew Kolkhorst before falling in the second round of qualifying, 8-1, to Vega.
The Ravens return to the court on Thursday, Sept. 20, when they return home to host Post in a non-conference match at 1 p.m. in Rindge.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (https://www.fpuraves.com). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce tennis apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (https://www.fpuravens.com/store).