Buffalo Dominates Canisius in Conference Tourney Tune-up
It is not often that the men's tennis team gets to enjoy many matches at this time of year. Competing in a conference such as the Mid-American Conference has often left the Bulls sullen in defeat, following a decisive and lopsided loss.
But once in a while the tables are turned and Buffalo (12-11) gets to deliver a little punishment of their own on some of the non-conference opponents that are on their schedule.
Buffalo was fired up Thursday after a string of conference losses and took it out harshly on the Canisius Golden Griffins (4-6), draining them 7-0 at the Bulls' University Tennis Center.
The win staked UB' s claim to being the best team in the big four, a group that consists of the four local colleges: St. Bonaventure, Canisius, Buffalo and Niagara.
"Everybody played pretty good," said senior Fery Kasiman, who played his last home match in his college career. "It's been fun but it's kind of sad that it is my last home match, but we have a good chance against Toledo outdoors in the MAC championships. Hopefully the sun will bring us some luck."
The Bulls got off to a quick start in doubles competition, sweeping all three doubles matches while only dropping a combined three games.
At first doubles, the sophomore duo of Nick Zieziula and Randy Rocchio demolished Kurt Felgemacher and Greg Kingston of Canisius 8-0. Canisius did not fare much better at second doubles, as Billy Kaputa and James Ford were downed by Fery Kasiman and Rohan Raikar of Buffalo by a score of 8-1.
The sweep was clinched when Josh Liederman and Rangga Prayudha of UB extinguished Philip Eichner and Kyle Hejmowski 8-2.
"This was our last home match prior to the MAC championships and I looked forward to giving some of my guys the opportunity to play," said head coach Russ Crispell. "For us as a team, this match gave the guys a chance to work on certain things I wanted them to work on with a little more relaxed attitude in a pressureless situation."
In singles action Buffalo carried over its momentum from the doubles play and captured all six matches, losing no more than five games in any set.
Rocchio, playing at No. 2 singles, was the first off the courts as he easily defeated Kingston of Canisius 6-0, 6-1. Mike Zappono at No. 5 followed suit and easily won his match dropping only two games in defeating Ford 6-2, 6-0. Chris Pyke played at No. 6 for UB, and overwhelmed Hejmowski 6-2, 6-2.
At first singles, Kasiman endured some long baseline rallies but in the end was too much for Felgemacher, dropping him 6-1, 6-3. Liederman had another solid day at No. 3, defeating Kaputa 6-1, 6-3. Finally playing at No. 4, Prayudha overcame some early struggles and defeated Eichner 7-5, 6-0.
"Next week we travel to play Stony Brook as we want to get one more tough match in before we play Toledo at the MAC championships," said Crispell. "Guys are going to put in a lot of hours this week in preparation for the Toledo match. I think we're in good shape for that Toledo match, because we're a better outdoor team than them."
Buffalo competes in the season-ending MAC championships hosted by Northern Illinois from April 25 to 27 but will head to Stony Brook first on April 18.