NASHUA, NH - The University of the District of Columbia men's tennis team's storybook 2011-12 season has come to a close as the No. 3 seeded Firebirds once again fell to No. 2 seed Queens College, 5-2 in the NCAA East Regional semifinals on Tuesday afternoon at Nashua Swim andTennis Club.
The Firebirds (17-5) looked poised to beat their East Coast Conference nemesis when they claimed victory in two of the three doubles matches, but the Knights (20-3) came charging back with four singles wins to earn the victory and advance to the NCAA Round of 16 in Lousiville, KY. District of Columbia had initial leads in the remaining two singles matches, but once Queens earned the decisive fifth point, the entire match came to a halt.
Queens, which defeated UDC 5-1 in the East Coast Conference Tournament Finals on April 19th, earned the first point of the match with an 8-2 win at second doubles. However, the Firebirds' No. 1 and 3 pairs both grinded out incredible, 9-8 victories to give UDC a 2-1 lead heading into singles play.
The Firebirds battled in every singles match, but the first four verdicts went in favor of Queens. First, Aleksandar Grabovac went down to Attila Toth, 6-0, 6-3 at the No. 1 spot. Then, Diego Medrano handed Simon Andersson a 6-2, 6-2 loss at No. 5 singles to put the Knights back in front, 3-2. Tyrone Ewels followed suit for Queens, defeating Tomas Gajdusek, 6-3, 6-1 at No. 2 singles, and pulling the Knights within one singles win of advancing to the Sweet 16.
Both Bruno Reich and Miguel Uzcategui won their first sets at No. 3 and 4, respectively, but No. 6 player Carlos Quiroga fell on the losing side of a tremendous match with Nikolaj Wulff, 7-5, 7-5, and with that verdict, Queens clinched the match victory.
This season, the Firebirds set a school record for wins (17) and advanced to the program's first-ever NCAA Regional Tournament. Head coach Dickie Mahaffey returns four of the six players on the roster next season, including East Coast Conference First Team selection, juior Aleksandar Grabovac and Second Team selection, freshman Simon Andersson.