BETHLEHEM, Pa./CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Bucknell men’s tennis team played at two different competitions this weekend, with part of the squad concluding its fall tournament season at the Lehigh Invitational, held on the Ulrich Tennis Courts in Bethlehem, Pa. Sophomore Nick Bybel and senior Aidan Lynch traveled to Charlottesville, Va. to compete in the UVa Fall Class at the Sheridan Snyder Tennis Center, playing against some of the top players in the country in preparation for the upcoming ITA Regionals.
Bybel and Lynch both competed in singles and doubles in Virginia, and Bybel came away with a fifth place finish in the White Flight of the tournament. The sophomore defeated fourth-ranked David Kohan of Penn State 6-4, 6-3 in the first round before falling to Cornell’s Jason Luu 7-6, 7-6 in the second round to earn a spot in the fifth-place bracket. He defeated Thomas Caputo of Binghamton 6-4, 6-0 in the first round and then triumphed over third-ranked Zack Lewis from the College of Charleston 3-6, 6-2, 10-6 to take fifth place.
At the Lehigh Invitational, the Bison played both singles and doubles against the Loyola Greyhounds, winning all nine matches contested over the course of the two-day competition. Junior Octavio Canibe led the way in singles play, defeating Harrison Kunkel 6-4, 6-2, with senior Kyle Rosen, senior Chris Tortora, senior Scott Bernstein, freshman Colby Burke and junior Jonathan DeFrancesch earning wins as well. Senior Irwin Reibeisen and Burke earned an 8-1 win over Eric Michaelis and Matthew Bejian in doubles, and each of the other Bison pairs came away victorious as well.
“We’ve seen Loyola throughout the fall in tournament play,” said head coach Rebecca Helt, “so to see them in more of a head-to-head format and come away undefeated is impressive.”
The squad also played two doubles matches each against Drexel and Lehigh, winning one match against the Dragons and one against the Mountain Hawks. DeFrancesch and Rosen defeated Drexel’s Tyler Putro and Danny Talone, while Canibe and Reibeisen earned an 8-3 win over Lehigh’s Tyler Hansen and Timur Chernykh.
“This was a chance to see some different doubles pairings throughout the weekend,” said Helt. “Overall I thought we went out there and played aggressive doubles.”
The men concluded the weekend’s competition with a round of singles against the University of Delaware, earning four wins over the Blue Hens. Rosen led the way with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Tyler Flematti, while Tortora defeated Roy Cheng 6-3, 6-3. Bernstein and Burke also came away with victories, with both players winning in the tie breaker set.
“We competed well this weekend,” said Helt. “Even in the losses, we made our opponents work hard. This was a chance for some of our guys to play up, and they handled the competition exactly how we would expect – they just went out there and competed hard.”
While Bybel and Lynch continue to prepare for the ITA Regionals, which will take p[lace from Oct. 17 to 22 at Virginia Tech’s Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center, the rest of the Bison will begin a rigorous strength and conditioning schedule in preparation for the 2014 spring season.