Nichols Tennis Tabbed 18th In ITA Regional Rankings

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Nichols College sports information department, here’s their release from last night on the men’s tennis team, who earned its first regional ranking in program history from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA):

DUDLEY, Mass. – The Nichols College men’s tennis team earned its first regional ranking in program history from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) and checked in at No. 18 while sophomore Brandon Roode (Griswold, Conn.) fell three spots to No. 15 in the singles rankings.

“I am excited that our program has been recognized with a regional ranking,” commented head coach Paul Brower. “It is a real tribute to the work our guys have put in and the talent they bring to the table. I am incredibly happy for guys like David Drucker, Justin Deluca, and Brandon Roode who have been here and our three freshmen, Eduardo Irizarry, Carlos De La Cruz, and Josh Halpern who have helped us elevate our game to a new level. It is a great feeling to be recognized among the best in our region, and a true testament to guys like Steve Carella ’12 and Tyler McLaughlin ‘11 who helped lay the ground work that brought our program to this level. I am fortunate to coach such a tremendous group of guys.”

The Bison, coming off the first NCAA tournament win for any program in the spring, had a strong fall defeating Coast Guard and Springfield to go 2-2 against the NEWMAC and notched a key win over Wesleyan (Conn.). Nichols only obstacles came against newly minted #6 MIT and #16 Babson.

Led by Roode and first-year Eduardo Irizarry (Lajas, Puerto Rico), the Bison blanked Division I Holy Cross, 7-0, to kick off the spring portion of the schedule. Nichols then embarked on an ambitious spring break trip that included an appointment with Division I Connecticut. Despite a 5-2 setback, Irizarry and senior Justin DeLuca (Mashpee, Mass.) each won their singles flights as Irizarry and Roode took down the Huskies top pairing, 9-8 (7-5).  Later that day, Brower’s lineup rebounded by blanking Mass.-Boston, 9-0.

Following an off-day due to rain, the Bison claimed a 7-2 victory over regionally-ranked Hobart. Irizarry and Roode did their part by upsetting the 10th-ranked team in the region at the time, 8-2, before claiming their respective singles flights. DeLuca and, second-year captain, graduate student David Drucker (Bellmore, N.Y.) also picked up a singles and doubles win against the Statesmen to go along with a victory by first-year Josh Halpern (Secaucus, N.J.). The Bison went on to roll past North Central (Ill.), 7-2, and blank Lawrence, 9-0.

Nichols then opened its Commonwealth Coast Conference slate on Thursday with a 9-0 triumph at Western New England as the squad claimed its sixth consecutive CCC opener. The match saw Drucker move closer to taking over the career wins records in both singles and doubles from Steve Carella ’12. The second-year captain is one win shy of tying the singles record of 54 and four away from the doubles benchmark (50).

Roode has posted a 5-1 ledger in singles action with his only blemish coming against the Division I Huskies while boasting a 6-0 record at doubles this spring. In addition to being instrumental in the 7-0 win against local Division I foe Holy Cross, the sophomore helped produce a pair of points against regionally-ranked Hobart.

The Bison head to nationally-ranked Amherst on Saturday for an 11:00 a.m. rematch of last year’s NCAA Division III Men’s Tennis Championship Second Round.

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