Suffolk Men's Tennis Claims Third Consecutive GNAC Championship

Anthony DelPrete
Suffolk University Athletic Communications


The Suffolk University Men’s Tennis team captured their third consecutive Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship with a 6-1 victory over the Emerson College Lions on Saturday afternoon. The Rams finish the 2011 season with a 12-1 overall record.

Senior Justin Ayoub (Brooklyn, N.Y.) earned Most Valuable Player honors in the two match playoffs as the senior won all four of his matches in singles and doubles play combined.

The top-seeded Rams opened up with an 8-1 victory over fourth seeded Johnson & Wales on Thursday evening. During the nine set match the Rams took all three doubles contests. Senior John Samander (Willenstad, Netherlands)and freshman Hubert Cromack (Paris, France) partnered for an 8-1 victory in the top doubles contest to defeat John Sepowitz and Nicholas Simon. Ayoub and junior Chris Staley (London, England) would pick up an 8-1 victory in the second doubles match, while sophomore Harlan Strader (Marblehead, Mass.) and freshman Albert Buruga (Boston, Mass.) rounded out the partners side of play with an 8-0 win in the third match.

Strader won his singles game in consecutive 6-0 sets to top the Wildcats’ Todd Zimmerman. Cromback and Ayoub were also multiple winners on the evening as they both collected wins in singles play. In the second singles match Cromback was a 6-0, 6-1 winner over Nicholas Simon, while Ayoub topped Jesse Wils 6-3, 6-2 in the third game. Sophomore Dachuan Zhu (Beijing, China) earned a win in the fourth singles game with 6-2, 6-3 victories over Drew Pontillo. Sophomore Daniel Kelly (Nashua, N.H.) rallied in the fifth singles match for a 10-4 tiebreaking victory in the third set over Drew Pontillo after falling 6-1 in the first set.

On Saturday the Rams would take four of their singles contests to cruise to a 6-1 victory.

After recording a 2-1 edge in doubles matches the Rams the Rams would sweep the first four singles games before concluding the match as the Rams clinched their third league title in as many years, while defeating the Lions in all of those contests.

Strader, Cromback, Ayoub and Buruga earned the four wins in individual play for Suffolk, while Staley and Samander did not complete their matches.

The Rams opened the day with a win by Samander and Cromback in the top doubles game, 8-6 over the Lions’ Ken Nikravesh and Garrett Mercer. Mitch Lance and Michael Nourie put the only blemish on the Suffolk score as they topped Harlan Strader and Albert Buruga 8-5 in the second doubles match. Staley and Ayoub picked up the last win for the Rams with an 8-4 effort over Will Abeles and Matt Merksamer.

Suffolk concludes the 2011 season with a 12-1 mark, while the Rams won all six contests against GNAC opponents on the season.