HAVERFORD, Pa. - Luis Acaba's singles victory clinched the win for Haveford College's men's tennis team Saturday afternoon on the Bramall Courts where the Fords downed 26th-ranked Swarthmore College, 7-2, in a Centennial Conference match-up that determined the third and fourth seeds for the postseason conference tournament.
Haverford (10-6, 7-2 CC) coraled the No. 3 seed for the playoffs with the win, relegating Swarthmore to the fourth seed. The victory by the Fords is the first regular season win over the Garnet in more than 60 years. Haverford did defeat Swarthmore in the semifinal round of the 2008 Centennial tournament.
Saturday's win began with the Fords' sweep of the three doubles matches.
The tandem of Matt Romei and Matthew Cebul raced to an 8-0 win at No. 2 over Swarthmore's James Wieler and Max Sacks, giving Haverford a quick lead. However, nothing was quick about the other battles for doubles points.
At 3-doubles, Acaba and Sloan Millman outlasted the Garnet's Christian Carcione and Harrision Lands, picking up a second point for the Fords with a 9-7 victory.
The remaining doubles match still on the courts, at No. 1, was even tighter but Kevin Caulfield and Danny Himelstein, ranked eighth in the Atlantic South Regional rankings, pulled out the Haverford sweep with a 9-8 (10-4) win over Anthony Collard and Malik Mubeen.
Cebul brought Haverford one point closer to the match victory with his straight set (6-1, 7-5) win at No. 6 singles but Swarthmore picked up a point at 5-singles with Mubeen's win over Zack Mason.
Acaba and Sacks staged a tight battle in the opening set at No. 2 singles, but Acaba finally earned a 7-5 win then rolled to a 6-0 victory in the second set to provide the Fords with the clinching point.
Andy Dougherty fought the sun, fatigue and Swarthmore's Irving Stone at No. 4 before coming away with a 2-1 victory. Stone rallied from a 7-5 loss to Dougherty in the opening set with a 6-3 win in the second. The pair went point for point in the super tie-break third set but Dougherty earned the win with a 1-0 victory by an 11-9 score.
The final point of the historic day for the Fords came at No. 1 singles where a pair of regionally-ranked foes went at each other.
Caulfield, 10th in the region, took a 6-4 win over Collard, seventh in the region, in the opening set. The duel stayed on serve in the second set until late, allowing Caulfield to come away with a 7-5 win to close out the day's action.
As the third seed in the league tournament, Haveford earns a rematch with Franklin & Marshall College, the No. 2 seed, which downed the Fords on the Bramall Courts on April 20 by a 6-3 count. Haverford and the Diplomats will square off on Saturday, May 4 in one of two semfinals with the winner advancing into the championship match on Sunday.
In addition to the victory improving the Fords' season record, the win over Swarthmore pads Haverford's lead in the annual Hood Trophy competition between the two schools. Earlier in the day the men's and women's lacrosse teams defeated Swarthmore to pick up two points in the race. The men's lacrosse victory, finishing later than the womens' win, clinched the trophy for Haverford as the advantage over the Garnet climbed to an insurmountable 9.5 - 5.5 margin. The men's tennis victory pushed the score to 10.5 - 5.5 with just the men's and women's outdoor track & field points still up for grabs.