Bryant Born celebrates after his doubles match win alongside teammate Ricardo Prince on Tuesday, April 12, 2016, at the Ulrich Varsity Courts. They won their doubles match 7-5. (Gaby Morera / B&W Staff)

Lehigh men’s tennis tops Bucknell 4-3 in Senior Day dual


For just the third time in 10 years, the Lehigh men’s tennis team defeated Bucknell University on Senior Day at Ulrich Sports Complex Tuesday afternoon.

It came down to the final match of the day as junior Colin Nardella clinched the win at No. 5 singles as the Mountain Hawks (12-3, 3-1 Patriot) defeated the Bison 4-3. The victory gave the senior class two of the three wins over the Bison in that 10-year span.

“Bucknell always gives us a hard time,” senior Ricardo Prince said. “They’re a good team, and they always play us tough. We may see them in the tournament, so we wanted to get this win and get the edge over them.”

Although the day was centered on the seniors’ final regular season match at Ulrich Sports Complex, it was the underclassmen who stepped up against Bucknell. Freshman George Cooper and sophomore Jack Petersen picked up a win at No. 3 doubles while Cooper also won his singles match to anchor the Mountain Hawks. The Albuquerque, New Mexico, native fought off the wind and cold to garner two decisive victories for Lehigh.

“It was tough, I’m coming from Januarys where it was 75 degrees to this weather,” Cooper said. “It’s good to be outside as it will prepare us for the tournament.  Playing indoors, there are no variables, and playing outdoors, you have to be so much more aware on the court.”

Freshman Bryant Born delivered the game-winning point at No. 2 doubles with Prince alongside him. The win gave Lehigh a 2-1 edge in doubles, securing a 1-0 lead to start the match.

Prince said the team was focusing a lot on doubles in practice leading up to this match. He credited Born’s performance, saying he carried the duo to the doubles win.

Despite Lehigh’s top three singles and No.1 doubles suffering losses, the Mountain Hawks were still able to grind out the victory. The Hawks’ No. 1 doubles and singles player, senior Jeremy Kochman, battled close friend and reigning Patriot League Player of the Week, Nick Bybel.

“It was a tough match, he’s the been one of the best players in the league all four years I’ve been here,” Kochman said. “But the team had my back today, and that’s all I could ask for on Senior Day. At the end of the day, it’s all about getting four points.”

The Mountain Hawks have a tough stretch coming up including the Patriot League defending champions in Army West Point. Lehigh will then prepare for the Patriot League Tournament, which will be at the friendly confines of Ulrich Sports Complex.

“From a strategic standpoint, it looks like the match will be outside,” coach Wouter Hendrix said. “We have never won in Army’s indoor facility. Not saying we can’t beat them inside, but the conditions will favor us outside. We can’t let the environment and crowd get to us.”

The Mountain Hawks can secure a top seed in the tournament with wins in their upcoming matches, which bodes well for a team that will enter the tournament with a 12-2 mark at home.

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Junior Colin Nardella gets ready to serve the ball in Lehigh's match against Bucknell University Tuesday, April 12, 2016, at the Ulrich Varsity Courts. The Mountain Hawks defeated the Bison 4-3, putting them in the fourth place in the Patriot League. (Gracie Chavers/B&W Staff)

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