Stowe, VT - The Northern Vermont University-Lyndon men's tennis team avenged a heartbreaking loss to Northern Vermont University-Johnson just three days ago by pulling out a 5-4 victory at Topnotch Resort on Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Hornets earn a berth to next Saturday's North Atlantic Conference Championship Tournament. Lyndon is 1-10 on the season and finishes 1-3 in the NAC, good for fourth place. Johnson falls to 1-8 overall and finishes 0-4 in conference.
The Hornets opened the match by capturing two of three doubles flights. Lyndon's #1 team of Patrick Wickstrom (Lafayette, LA) and Neal Mulligan (Marshfield, VT) prevailed over the Johnson duo of Austin Walters and John Folsom, 8-6. At #3, Lyndon's Zach Falkenburg (Kirkville, NY) and Abukar Hassan (Kenya) took an 8-6 decision from Johnson's Patrick Bell and Donell Shaw. Johnson's Trevor Newton and Kenneth Chandler were 8-1 winners over the Hornets' Mukhtar Sheikh Abdullahi (Mogadishu, Somalia) and Kyle Leighton (Burrillville, RI).
In singles play, Mulligan made quick work of Folsom with a 6-1, 6-1 win at #2. Johnson picked up straight set wins at #3, #5, and #6, however. Newton topped Abdullahi 6-1, 7-5 at #3, Chandler downed Jeremy Polonia (Lynn, MA) 6-1, 6-3 at #5, and Shaw was a 6-0, 6-4 winner over Hassan at #6.
In the fourth singles match, Johnson's Colin Compagna took the first set from Leighton, 6-2. Leighton battled back, however, and squared the match with a 6-4 win in the second set. Leighton was then able to come away with the win with a 10-8 victory in the tiebreaker.
With the match even at 4-4, everythign came down to the first singles matchup between Wickstrom and Walters. After Wickstrom breezed through the first set, 6-0, Walters came back to even things by winning the second set 6-2. That meant that first singles, the match, and the playoff berth came down to the tiebreaker. There, Wickstrom was able to battle back from three match points to come away with a 12-10 win, sending the Hornets to the playoffs.
Lyndon and Johnson split their two matches this season. As a result, each school earns a half point towards the NVU President's Cup Challenge. To follow the rce for the Cup, click HERE.
Hornet head coach Laura Laramee recognized Abdullahi and Hassan, Lyndon's two seniors, who were playing in their final regular season match on Saturday.
The Hornets will be the #4 seed in next week's NAC Tournament. They will face #1 Thoams College in one semi-final. #2 Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and #3 SUNY Delhi will meet in the other semi. The tournament will be hosted by The Edge in Essex Junction, VT. Play will begin at 9:00 am, with the order of play to be determined later this week.