Hoboken, NJ - The Stevens Institute of Technology men’s tennis team is the champion of the Empire 8 for the second-straight year after defeating second-seeded Ithaca College 5-0 on Sunday in the conference tournament final in Ithaca, N.Y. Senior Arik Zeevy (Irvington, N.J.) was named the MVP of the championship after helping the Ducks (13-5) earn their third automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Men’s Tennis Championship in the last four years.
“It was great to pull out the win today,” head coach Steve Gachko (Hoboken, N.J.) said. “It’s the fourth time we’ve played Ithaca in a title match so we knew it would be a tough but we competed well and did what we had to.”
As it did in Saturday’s semifinal match against Nazareth College, top-seeded Stevens swept the doubles points to take an early 3-0 lead. Sophomores Shota Tasaki (Greenwich, Conn.) and Chris Rosensteel (East Windsor, N.J.) earned an 8-4 victory out of the first doubles slot, downing junior Jimmy Newton (Englewood, Fla.) and senior Josh Rifkin (Ft. Wayne, Ind.). The senior pair of Jason Ringstad (Fairbanks, Alaska) and Zeevy defeated freshman David Anderson (Hastings on Hudson, N.Y.) and sophomore Josh Berggrun (Moreland, Ohio) 8-2 at No. 2 doubles, while senior Jay Lee (La Jolla, Calif.) and freshman Lopburi Sasinin (New Brunswick, N.J.) were victorious at No. 3 doubles by an 8-4 final over junior Dan Levine (Highland Mills, N.Y.) and sophomore Kyle Riether (Langhorne, Pa.).
Sasinin earned the Ducks’ fourth point of the match out of the sixth singles slot, defeating Anderson, 6-4, 6-1. Zeevy then clinched things with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Newton to send the Ducks to the NCAA’s as the senior went 2-0 in doubles and 2-0 in singles for the Ducks in the Empire 8 Tournament.
“Winning MVP is nice, but the nicest thing today is our team pulling through against a really strong opponent in Ithaca,” Zeevy said after the match. “It means a lot to get to play again, especially for all of our seniors. We get to continue our careers at the NCAA’s and compete at the highest level. I know we can’t wait for the challenge that lies ahead.”
Stevens was unblemished against Empire 8 foes in 2011, winning all eight matches it played – six in the regular season and two this postseason. The last time Stevens lost to an Empire 8 team was Ithaca on April 10, 2010.
The Ducks have reached the finals in all four years they have been a member of the Empire 8 – 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 – and each time they have faced Ithaca with the Ducks winning 3-of-4 title matches. In 2008 Stevens won 5-4, in 2009 the Bombers won 5-3, and in 2010 Stevens won 5-2. Ithaca has been to all nine title matches, winning in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2009.
Stevens will now turn its attention to the NCAA Division III Men’s Tennis Championship where it will be seeking its first tournament win in program history.
“I am extremely proud of how we came out today in doubles and the way we showed a sense of urgency in closing it out,” added Gachko. “Now, we have to get ready to play a very strong opponent so there is still a lot of work for us to do.
Zeevy echoed his coach’s feelings. “We are not satisfied with winning the Empire 8 – there is still a long way to go. We want to play well and win in the NCAA’s so we have a lot of work left.”
The NCAA will release the bracket on Monday morning. Visit StevensDucks.com for the announcement and updated schedule.
About Stevens Institute of Technology
Founded in 1870, Stevens Institute of Technology, The Innovation University™, lives at the intersection of industry, academics and research. The University's students, faculty and partners leverage their collective real-world experience and culture of innovation, research and entrepreneurship to confront global challenges in engineering, science, systems and technology management.
Based in Hoboken, N.J. and with a location in Washington, D.C., Stevens offers baccalaureate, master’s, certificates and doctoral degrees in engineering, the sciences and management, in addition to baccalaureate degrees in business and liberal arts. Stevens has been recognized by both the US Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Excellence in the areas of systems engineering and port security research. The University has a total enrollment of more than 2,350 undergraduate and 3,600 graduate students with almost 450 faculty. Stevens’ graduate programs have attracted international participation from China, India, Southeast Asia, Europe and Latin America as well as strategic partnerships with industry leaders, governments and other universities around the world. Additional information may be obtained at www.stevens.edu and www.stevens.edu/news.