HERSHEY, Pa. – Today was the St. Mary’s College of Maryland men’s tennis team’s turn to win a conference title as St. Mary’s College claimed the 2022 United East Conference Men’s Tennis Championship Tournament title Sunday afternoon with a 5-1 victory over Penn State Harrisburg.
The top-seeded Seahawks (14-3) were in the driver’s seat from the beginning, sweeping all three doubles before winning two of three singles matches, to take down second-seeded Harrisburg (10-6) in today’s championship match.
Today’s victory gives St. Mary’s the spot in the United East Conference/North Atlantic Conference Crossover Match on Sunday, May 8, in Latham, N.Y. The Seahawks will face SUNY Delhi, who won the NAC men’s tennis championship on April 30.
The crossover match winner will get the automatic bid into the 2022 NCAA Division III Men’s Tennis Championship Tournament.
How It Happened
- The Seahawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead by sweeping all three doubles matches.
- Junior captain Stephen Alam (Ellicott City, Md./Marriotts Ridge) and sophomore Kier Nacua (La Plata, Md./La Plata) started the championship quest with an 8-2 win over Caleb Fockens and Sachin Venkatesh at the first flight.
- The duo of senior captain Sam Sheats (Arnold, Md./Broadneck) and first-year Tyler VanValkenburg (Fredericksburg, Va./Massaponax) continued the team’s winning ways, posting an 8-5 victory at the No. 2 spot for their team-leading 17th win of the season. Their triumph also matches the single-season record for doubles wins of 17 set by Andrew Gear ’14 and Mark Hardesty ’16 set in 2012-13.
- Sophomores Nick Rohr (Fairfax County, Va./Robinson) and Keawe Shepherd Johnson (Silver Spring, Md./Montgomery Blair) wrapped up doubles action with an 8-4 win at No. 3 doubles over Rishikesh Sinsh and Evan Stillwell.
- Sheats stretched the St. Mary’s lead to 4-0 with a 6-0, 6-1 triumph over Aaron Krasley at the third flight.
- Fockens notched the Lions’ lone point with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Alam at the No. 1 spot.
- The Seahawks clinched the conference title at the fourth flight when VanValkenburg notched a 6-0, 6-2 win over Andrew Schreck.
- The No. 2 singles match was in progress when the team match ended. Venkatesh took the first set, 6-4, but Venkatesh and Nacua were in a 5-5 deadlock in the second set when VanValkenburg won his match.
Up Next for the Seahawks
- May 8 vs. SUNY Delhi (9-4) – Latham, N.Y./Tri-City Tennis Club – TBA