The men’s tennis team captured the 2010 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship defeating Emerson College, 5-4 in a thrilling 4 1/2-hour-long marathon Saturday afternoon.
Senior Jared Orkin won the match clincher as he defeated Emerson’s Mark Jackman in the third singles position, winning 7-6 in their tiebreak set to give the Rams back-to-back conference titles. Orkin rallied after losing the first set, 6-4 before topping Jackman 6-2 in the second set to even things up. For his efforts Orkin was named Tournament Most Valuable Player.
Suffolk took a 2-1 edge in doubles play before heading into singles competition. Senior Diego Alvarado and freshman Harlan Strader earned their ninth victory of the season as a duo, topping Jackman and Allesandro Bellino in the first doubles match, 8-5. Sophomore Chris Staley and junior John Samander moved to a perfect 10-0 as a tandem on the season, defeating Emerson’s Dan Lapidus and Garret Mercer, 8-6.
Both teams would split singles competition as three of the matches would need third tiebreak sets.
Strader remained perfect on the season in the four position for Suffolk handling Lapidus with ease, 6-4 and 6-1, giving the Rams their third victory of the day.
Junior Justin Ayoub picked up a victory for the Rams in the six position as he topped Morgan Crossley in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3.
Things would get uneasy for the Rams, however, as they needed just one more match point to secure the league title.
Sophomore Ken Nikravesh defeated Suffolk’s Chris Staley in the number two position, 6-3 and 6-4, as Staley battled through injuries. Allesandro would top Alvarado in the number one singles match as his 6-4 victory in the tiebreak brought the Lions closer.
Samander and Mercer had a battle in the five position that saw the Lion’s even the match at four. Mercer outlasted his opponent, winning the third set 6-2, bringing all the drama on the number three court.
Orkin was able to clinch things for the Rams, winning the tiebreak 9-7 as a Jackman offering bounced over the baseline for the final point.
Along with Orkin, both Alvarado and Strader were named as All-Tournament team selections.
The Rams will wrap up their regular season Thursday as they take on Salem State College in non-league action beginning at 4 p.m.