DANBURY, CT - The Western Connecticut State University men's tennis team are headed into the Little East Conference Tournament with momentum as it defeated league-leading University of Massachusetts Boston, 5-4 at Westside Courts on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
The Colonials, 5-7 overall and 3-3 in the league, will be the fifth seed in the upcoming league championships which begin on Tuesday. They will attempt to avenge an early-season 5-4 loss to Rhode Island College as the calendar turns to May. Match time against the Anchormen will be determined on Sunday.
Saturday's match against the Beacons came down to the last court and Matthew Carino (Sandy Hook, CT) won 6-3 in the third set over Onkgoposte Mokoka to snap a 4-4 match tie and gave WestConn the 5-4 win. Carino prevailed, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
The Colonials took a 2-1 lead after doubles action. Jeffrey Baker (Simsbury, CT) and Carino defeated Guan Huang and Ray Platteel, 8-2 at second-flight pairs before Chauncey Allers (Wilton, CT) and Aaron Campos (Ridgefield, CT) prevailed at top doubles, 9-7 over Miguel Beltran and Mokoka.
Prior the start of the match, the team celebrated the career of its only senior Jeff Hensley (Naugatuck, CT). Following doubles, he got the singles' matches rolling with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Huang at sixth-flight solos.
The host then dropped matches at #5 Allers to Platteel, 6-3, 6-1 and at #2 with William Hogan (Ridgefield, CT) falling to Sanshrut Sharma, 7-6, 6-0..
Campos won at #1 giving us a the Colonials a 4-3 advantage. The sophomore defeated Belton, 6-4, 6-1.
A loss by Baker in the four slot, to Tin Tran, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1, evened the match at 4-4.
After nearly four hours, Carino sealed the victory.
Carino and Hensley finished the regular season undefeated in singles conference play.
"This was a nice way to finish the season," said WestConn mentor Shawn Stillman. "It was a confidence builder as we head into the conference playoffs."
Little East Conference Tournament pairing and times can be found at www.littleeast.com.