Men's tennis returns to familiar territory

LANCASTER, Pa. – The 2013 Centennial Conference men's tennis tournament continues Saturday with third-seed Haverford College traveling to Franklin & Marshall College to take on the No. 2-seed Diplomats in one of two semifinals on the day.

Less than two weeks ago the same two teams squared off during the regular season and though the host Fords entered the match ranked eighth in the Atlantic South Region, it was the region's ninth-ranked team from F&M that stole a 6-3 road win.

In that loss, however, three matches could have gone either way and that day ended up tilting the Diplomats' way.

Kevin Caulfield and Danny Himelstein defeated F&M's top-flight doubles tandem and hope to repeat that success Saturday afternoon.

The Diplomats captured the Nos. 2 and 3 doubles matches in the regular season but both wins were mere points away from becoming Haverford victories.

Matt Romei and Matthew Cebul were downed by a 9-7 score at 2-doubles, and Luis Acaba and Sloan Millman fought off several match points before succumbing in a tie-breaker, 9-8(2).

If both of those Haverford pairings can turn the results around, Saturday's re-match would then turn on singles play.

In the regular-season contest, the Dips picked up four singles wins to clinch the match but Caulfield's loss at No. 1 could have go either way. Franklin & Marshall's Ross Silverburg, 12th in the region, grabbed the opening set but Caulfield, eighth in the region, broke back with a win in set number two. He ran out of steam in the third set as Silverburg won out, 6-4, to capture the hard-fought duel.

Romei and Cebul both avenged their narrow defeat at 2-doubles that day, capturing straight-set wins at Nos. 3 and 6, respectively.

The doubles pairing of Caulfield and Himelstein at 1, and Acaba and Sloan Millman at 3, are both 9-1 in their last 10 matches heading into the tournament. At No. 2, Romei and Cebul are 6-4 in their past 10 outings.

Caulfield takes a 10-5 dual-match mark and 14-5 overall record into the playoffs, all at the top spot in singles. Andy Dougherty will step onto the F&M courts with a 6-4 mark at No. 4 over his past 10, and teammate Zach Mason is also 6-4, playing at 5-singles.

The winner of the Haverford-F&M semifinal will face the winner of Saturday's other semifinal, between top seed and eighth-in-the-nation Johns Hopkins University and 26th-ranked Swarthmore College, in the Centennial championship match Sunday in Baltimore, Md., on Hopkins' home courts.