FLUSHING, N.Y. — Defending champion and top-seeded Culinary Institute of America rallied from a 4-1 deficit and won the final four matches to edge out Berkeley College, 5-4, to win their second straight Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men’s tennis championship on Sunday afternoon at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
The Steels also defeated the Knights by the same margin last season to capture their first title.
A very close regular season saw Culinary, Pratt, and Berkeley tied with matching 3-1 records, but the Steels taking the top seed via the league's tiebreaker rule.
Culinary bypassed No. 4 seed Vaughn College last weekend, 9-0, to earn a spot in the finals, while No. 3 seed Berkeley upended No. 2 seed Pratt, 6-3, on Friday night to set up a championship rematch.
When the squads met in the regular season it was Berkeley who prevailed 5-4.
The Knights jumped out to a 2-1 lead after doubles play as Jonathan Wilson and Victor Marotta cruised to an 8-0 victory at No. 1 doubles and Sebastian Rosseau and Alexander Maurmann outlasted Cassidy Seo and Ola Boulos in the No. 3 position, 9-7. Nathaniel Putnam and Gabriela Berrios secured the lone win for the Steels at No. 2 doubles, 8-5.
Berkeley won the top two singles matches to jump out to a 4-1 advantage as Wilson and Marotta remained undefeated for the tournament—Wilson winning 10-4 in the No. 1 position and Marotta winning 10-1 at No. 2.
Putnam then captured his respective matches at No. 3 to also remain undefeated for the tournament, dropping just one game in a 10-1 triumph. Seo, last year's Co-Rookie of the Year, followed soon after with a 10-3 win at No. 4 singles.
After James Buquet IV added another point for the Steels winning 10-4 at No. 6 singles to level the match, all eyes turned to the No. 5 singles match where Berrios held off Maurmann, 10-6, to clinch the title defense and come-from-behind win.
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2017 HVIAC Men's Tennis Championships
#1 Culinary def. #2 Berkeley, 5-4 | Box | Sunday, April 30
Tournament & Regular Season Champions
The Culinary Institute of America