Fords ready to challenge Hopkins in semifinals

BALTIMORE, Md. – Haverford College's men's tennis team is no stranger to the Centennial Conference postseason, and Saturday's foe in the semifinal round of the league tournament -- 16th-ranked Johns Hopkins University -- has become a familiar postseason opponent.

The fifth-seeded Fords (11-7, 6-3 CC) and top-seeded Blue Jays (15-4 9-0) will face-off at 3 p.m. Saturday for the right to advance to Sunday's Centennial championship match. The weekend's match-up will the be fourth time in the past six seasons the squads have battled each other in the league tournament.

Hopkins owns the edge over the Fords this season having beaten visiting Haverford late in the regular season, but a commanding 5-1 win over host and fourth-seed Washington College in the opening round of the playoff on Wednesday hints that the Fords are picking up their game.

Kevin Caulfield -- rated ninth in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's Atlantic South region rankings in singles -- heads into Saturday's match on a four-match win streak at No. 1 singles and was ahead in his match at Washington on Wednesday when Matt Romei won the clinching point at 3-singles. Romei's win over his Shoreman opponent was his second straight.

Jacob Weisenthal has come on strong as the season wound down, registering a 3-1 mark in his past four outings at 5-singles. Matthew Cebul will likely play at the No. 6 singles spot, bringing a 6-1 season record into the match against the Blue Jays.

Cebul and Romei have played tough at the No. 2 doubles spot but only sport a 4-7 record for the spring. At 1-doubles, Caulfield and Danny Himelstein will look to break above the .500 mark (7-7) at Hopkins, while Will Garrett and Natty Sergay hope to improve their 6-3 mark at No. 3 doubles.

Last season Hopkins won a 5-0 decision over the Fords, captured the Centennial title, then advanced into the NCAA tournament. Haverford and the Blue Jays met in the conference tournament finals in both the 2007 and 2008 seasons with Hopkins securing the league championship in both meetings.