QUINCY, Mass.—For the first time since 2009, UMass Boston men's tennis can claim the title of Eastern Nazarene College Invitational Champions, after a thrilling Saturday afternoon at the ENC Tennis Courts.
Junior David Hernandez (Bogota, Colombia) earned the overall singles crown, while the Beacons doubles pair of Charles Lai (Boston, Mass.) and Eglis Bizhoti (Kucovë, Albania) earned a runner-up finish in the doubles portion of the tournament.
Overall six Beacons competed in three-team round-robin competition, with UMass Boston amassing nine victories in 14 total matches, with two of the Beacons five losses coming against another UMass Boston competitor.
The Beacons easily dominated the host Lions and Curry College Colonels.
In all, every Beacons competitor in both singles and doubles reached the semifinals of the tournament, with Hernandez defeating senior Sean Cullen (Medway, Mass.) in the singles semifinals, while Bizhoti and Lai downed Lyle Analetto (Belmont, Mass.) and Sang Nguyen (Saugus, Mass.) in the doubles semifinals.
Hernandez was the big winner for UMass Boston, as he dropped just 13 games over eight sets to earn the singles title. The Beacons number two singles player downed Lucas Conway (Curry College) 6-0, 6-1 and Tyler Perron (Eastern Nazarene) 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the semifinals.
In the semis, Hernandez knocked off Cullen, UMass Boston's number one singles player and Hernandez's doubles partner, 6-2, 6-1 to earn a spot in the final. From there, Hernandez knocked off Eastern Nazarene's Sam McKay 6-2, 6-3.
UMass Boston was nearly as dominant in doubles play, as Bizhoti and Lai and Analetto and Nguyen earned three victories in four tries in pool play. The two teams met up in the semifinals, with Lai and Bizhoti outlasting Analetto and Nguyen 8-4.
The finals pitted Lai and Bizhoti against Eastern Nazarene's David Steelman and Nick Thompson. Despite the fact that Lai and Bizhoti had earned an 8-5 win in pool play, the Lions pair came away with a 9-8 (6) hard-fought decision.
UMass Boston will close out their fall season next Saturday when the Beacons travel to Maine to take on Colby College at 1 p.m.