INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana - The Earlham College men's tennis team booked its ticket to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Tournament championship on Saturday, defeating Hanover College 5-2 at the West Indy Racquet Club.
The Quakers will face Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology tomorrow (Sunday) at 10 a.m. for the HCAC Tournament championship and a berth in the NCAA Division III Men's Tennis Tournament.
Junior Vitalii Stadnyk and freshman Aleksandr Sergeev improved to 3-1 at first doubles with an 8-0 sweep of Landon Carrico and Dakota Smith. The Panthers leveled the match with an 8-2 win at second doubles.
The Quakers' third doubles team of junior Vojislav Tatarevic and sophomore Nicola Manni got up a break and led 4-1, but Drake Clohessy and Mitchell Minniear broke back to level the third doubles match 4-4. With the score tied, Earlham held serve and broke back to win the third doubles match 8-5.
Voja [Tatarevic] and Niko [Manni] have played together last season, and we put them together because they have chemistry," head men's tennis coach Shawn Hyden said. "Aleks [Sergeev] has been raising his level of play day in and day out."
Leading 2-1 after doubles, freshman Joaquin Lerner gave the Quakers their third flight victory has he improved to 12-3 in singles on the season with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Jonathan Helmers at sixth singles.
The Panthers got within one flight after Brent Barrett defeated sophomore Adarsh Singh 6-4, 6-1 at second singles, but Sergeev quickly stretched Earlham's lead to 4-2 after a 6-1, 7-5 win over Alec Bates at third singles.
Leading 4-2, Tatarevic took down Clohessy 6-4, 6-2 at fifth singles to clinch the fifth flight and the match for the Quakers. Due to HCAC Tournament matches being played to decision, first and third singles did not finish.
"Hanover is a good team and pushed us twice this season," said Hyden. "It was a great team victory."
Earlham, which will face Rose-Hulman in the championship match tomorrow, fell to the Engineers 6-3 in Terre Haute last week. The Quakers are looking for their first berth in the NCAA Division III Men's Tennis Tournament since the 2012-13 season.