LAS PALMAS, Puerto Rico – The Haverford College men's tennis team had to wait a day to gets its competition underway after rain in the Puerto Rico forecast on Tuesday. However, the wait proved to be worth it as the Fords (1-1) toppled NCAA Division I Sacred Heart by a 4-3 score on Wednesday.
The final score represents the Division I model of scoring in which singles is a best-of-three and therefore only counts as one point. Had the match been scored using the Division III style, Haverford would have doubled up its Division I foe by a 6-3 margin as the Fords swept each of the three doubles matches.
The Fords officially clinched the doubles point early with 6-2 victories in the top two positions. Last year's all-conference pairing of Luis Acaba and Harrison Elbert teamed up at No. 1 doubles for the win. Josh Moskovitz and Dais Nakayama were also 6-2 winners in the second doubles position.
Just for good measure, Ishaan Prinz and Nick Sweeney pulled out the tightest doubles match of the afternoon at No. 3. After evenly splitting the first 12 games in the final doubles match, Haverford's No. 3 team collected seven of the 10 points in the tiebreak to solidify the clean sweep.
Singles play was a much tougher matchup for the Fords. Despite having to play four matches that went into 10-point tiebreaks, the Fords gathered just enough points to clinch the benchmark victory. Moskovitz was the lone straight set winner for Haverford. Even he needed extra points in his second set to clinch the No. 3 singles match, but would do so with a 7-4 edge in the tiebreak. A second set tiebreak also went the way of Sacred Heart at No. 4 singles. Elbert played a pair of tough sets, but was ultimately denied a 10-point tiebreak bid when his opponent won 11-9 in the second set tiebreak.
When the team needed them the most, it was two Haverford seniors that came through with the needed 10-point tiebreak victories. Acaba rebounded nicely from a tiebreak defeat at the No. 1 singles slot with a resounding 6-0 blanking to force the tiebreak. The Fords' top player then allowed just six points to his opponent in the tiebreak.
Zack Mason also prevailed in a grueling 10-point tiebreak match. Playing at No. 6 singles, Mason actually got the jump with a 6-2 first set victory. However, he was forced to play on after a 7-5 setback in the second set. Undeterred, the senior leader put together the most impressive 10-point tiebreak of any of the four matches as he allowed just two points to his opponent for the victory.
Haverford sophomores Nakayama and Prinz nearly rallied to come away with victories before falling in the ultimate tiebreak. Nakayama, playing No. 2 singles, won his second set by a 6-1 margin to force the tiebreak. Even his 10-point tiebreak needed extra points before he was edged out by the 11-9 final. Prinz used a 6-4 second set win to force his tiebreak. He collected six points in the deciding tiebreak.
Men's tennis is next scheduled to play Puerto Rico-Rio Piedros this Friday before returning to the United States. When the Fords return north, they will have three home dates awaiting them to close out the month of March.