Atilla Toth (left) and Nikolaj Wulff (right) win last doubles match of the championship game against District of Columbia 9-8 on April 19 as head coach Craig Shwartz (in all red) observes, mentors and cheers for the men.
he Queens College men’s tennis team secured their third consecutive East Coast Conference Championship title after defeating the University of the District of Columbia 5-1, ending their season 18-3.
Coach of the Year, Craig Schwartz, despite having the pressure to live up to two consecutive conference victories and an undefeated conference record this season, went into this conference calm and confident.
“I have a lot of experience with these matches. I was more concerned with my guys getting up for this match and realizing it’s a big match. It’s [the] conference championship and we need to go out there and take care of business,” Schwartz said.
Seniors Tyrone Ewels and Claudio Andrade clutched the first point of the day in a doubles match that ended in an 8-1 decision. The second doubles went to the District of Columbia but after the third doubles match, QC moved into the singles with a 2-1 lead.
That was as close as the game got for 24th-ranked QC – they won the next three singles matches to seize the ECC championship title from the District of Columbia and brought the remaining singles matches to a halt.
Diego Medrano, the senior who won the final singles match and secured victory for QC, said, “Once we won last year, we knew that this year we had to do it better; I mean, we didn’t want less than a title.”
Five of the seven players from the team, including Ewels and Attila Toth – the two players of the year – are graduating seniors. However, the remaining players and the coach are undeterred by the sudden change in roster.
“We had the same this year too; we lost two seniors and we got new strong players. We trust our coach that he will find new players and we will win the title again,” said junior Nikolaj Wulff.
Schwartz has already recruited three new players, two of which are transferring from division I and are ready to play next year. The selection show for the NCAA draw will be on Nov. 24 and the QC tennis team has little time to rest before their next obstacle – the NCAA Division II Regional Championships on April 29. The players are eager to continue and work toward making their way into the Sweet 16 round and hopefully the final eight.