WEST WINDSOR, NEW JERSEY - The Marist men's tennis won its 12th Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship - and third straight - on Sunday afternoon. The second-seeded Red Foxes defeated top-seeded Monmouth by a score of 4-2
Freshman Rudolf Kurz (Oberpullendorf, Austria), who was named MAAC Rookie of the Year on Friday, was named Most Outstanding Performer at the MAAC Championships. Kurz won the deciding match in three sets at second singles. He also teamed with sophomore Dylan Fletcher (Stow, Mass.) to win the decisive match in a tiebreaker at third doubles to give the Red Foxes the doubles point.
“What a wonderful win for our entire team and especially our seniors, Joe and Matteo, this win personally is the most rewarding and satisfying of any of our conference championships,” said head coach Tim Smith. “We went in as the underdog to the team that beat us out for the regular season championship and the hard work, grit, and determination by the team made this a special victory."
After winning the doubles point the Red Foxes dropped the first singles match but quickly bounced back with a singles win from senior captain Matteo Giudici (Parma, Italy). Giudci defeated his Monmouth counterpart Luke Adamus in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1 to regain control of the match for the Red Foxes.
The Red Foxes would win the next singles match as junior Fredrik Bjerke (Oslo, Norway) gave Marist a 3-1 lead with his 6-4, 6-4 straight set victory over the Hawks Ale Gomez Estrada. Monmouth stayed persistent though and won one more singles match before Kurz was able to clinch the Red Foxes third consecutive MAAC Championship in their tenth consecutive appearance.
The Red Foxes are now 15-1 in MAAC championship play since 2008, amassing seven titles in eight years along the way.
“Lots of kudos to go around, but especially kudos to our third doubles team of Rudolf Kurz and Dylan Fletcher and the singles play of Matteo, Fredrik, and Rudy,” Smith added. “We beat a very good team in Monmouth and I couldn’t be any more proud of the way our players conducted themselves in the tournament. Wow what a good win.”
With the win the Red Foxes move to 15-7 overall on the season after finishing 6-1 in MAAC play. Marist will receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship to be held at Hurd Tennis Center in Waco, Texas.The NCAA selection show for men's tennis will take place on Tuesday, April 28 at 5:30 p.m.
1. Victor Pugliese (MON) def. Justin Chanthalangsy (MAR) 6-2, 6-0
2. Rudolf Kurz (MAR) def. Przemyslaw Filipek (MON) 5-7, 6-3, 6-3
3. Fredrik Bjerke (MAR) def. Ale Gomez Estrada (MON) 6-4, 6-4
4. Vidit Vaghela (MON) vs. Joseph Dube (MAR) 4-6, 6-3, 3-2, unfinished
5. Matteo Giudici (MAR) def. Luke Adamus (MON) 6-3, 6-1
6. Bee Kumthonkittikul (MON) def. Jan Dernic (MAR) 6-3, 6-1