The men’s tennis team has endured it all in its last six games. From extending a winning streak to breaking it and then starting a new one, it has been a busy stretch. There were highs and there were lows, with a Senior Day ceremony to boot. Through it all, the team is 13-6 with one game to go before the Atlantic 10 Championships.
The Rams rolled into their match against a 3-13 Rider squad on April 6, seeking their sixth straight victory. The match did not start in promising fashion, with Fordham losing the doubles point, something it has been very successful with throughout its streak. Junior Tomas Cosmai and sophomore Joseph Kavaloski took the first position before the other Fordham duos succumbed in the second and third. However, Fordham came right back by taking the first four singles points on the backs of Cosmai, freshman Victor Li, senior Nick Borak and Sophomore Cameron Posillico. Sophomore Harris Durkovic fell in the fifth position for the only Ram defeat, before Kavaloski closed it out by defeating Agaazi Berhane, ending the match 5-2.
Fordham traveled upstate to West Point, New York the very next day for a showdown with the University of Hartford. There were no signs of weariness when the Rams cruised to their second 7-0 sweep in the last seven contests. They started off by getting back on track in the doubles game, taking two out of three matches. The duo of seniors Pedro Alonso and Borak got past Daniel Rombola and Luis Montes, followed by the pair of Li and Posillico besting Juan Molina and Jairus Baker. In singles, Cosmai, Li, Borak, Kavaloski and Posillico all picked up their second straight triumphs, while Alonso got his first after sitting out the last match. Head coach Michael Sowter highlighted the play of Cosmai and Li leading off in the one and second spots. “Victor and Tomas have done a great job of leading from the front,” he said.
Sacred Heart was next up with the Rams winners of seven in a row and the A-10 Championships in their sights. However, the Pioneers posed an eventually insurmountable obstacle, sweeping the Rams 5-0. “We were definitely looking past Sacred Heart so hopefully the team learns from this loss and we come back strong leading into the A-10s,” said Sowter. Cosmai, normally a stalwart in the first position, was dominated by Brian Power (6-1, 6-2), while Borak and Kavaloski had similar results. Borak gave the toughest challenge in the fourth spot, succumbing to Karan Narula (6-3, 6-4). The other two points were not decided as a result of both Li’s and Alonso’s matches going unfinished.
It is safe to say the Rams’ heads might have gotten a little too big going into this match. “We definitely showed some overconfidence tonight and we were complacent in both our preparation and our performance against Sacred Heart,” Sowter said. “We were the flattest we’ve been all year.”
Later that day, Fordham was able to right the ship in a 6-1 win over local rival St. Francis Brooklyn. In a very unusual turn of events, the doubles point was determined in just one game. Li and Posillico topped Milos Vukicevic and Zurab Tskhakaia in the first position. The second position went unfinished and the third was defaulted, giving Fordham the point with just one victory. Cosmai got back to his winning ways in first singles, getting past Martin Bedecarratz in three sets. It took one less for Alonso over Tskhakaia and Borak against Sacha Singh. Durkovic provided the only loss, once again courtesy of Vukicevic, and freshman Chris Caroli secured the final point in what was his first appearance in several matches.
The next day brought Fordham’s final two home games and the 2016 Senior Day ceremony. As the only senior on the team, Alonso was the star of the day, receiving a framed picture of himself from his coach of two years. However, there were still a pair of matches left to be played, with all eyes on Alonso. The first match, featuring Rockland, was another easy 6-1 triumph for the Rams. Alonso made it 1-0 on his day, when he and Kavaloski swept the second doubles position from Jovana Marshall and Warren Brown. In addition, Durkovic secured his first victory in the past seven games with Borak by his side in the third position. Coach Sowter opted to sit Alonso in singles, but his teammates had no trouble picking up the slack. Cosmai continued his stellar play, besting Johnathon Compres (6-3, 6-0). Kavaloski, Posillico, Durkovic and Caroli were the other victors.
Adelphi was the final foe, and the Rams took their closest match since Hofstra back on March 12. The doubles game was not close. Fordham secured all three games, including Alonso’s second victory of Senior Day with Borak. However, things got very interesting when Cosmai uncharacteristically fell in the first position. The two teams then proceeded to trade the next four matches. Alonso (winning his third in a row on Senior Day) and Li won on the Fordham side, while Roey Heymann and Daniel Khodosh were successful on the Adelphi side. As a result the match came down to Durkovic, who might have been the shakiest Fordham player in the recent stretch. He lost the first set 6-3, before firing back in the next two (6-1,10-5), giving his teammate Alonso two triumphs on his Senior Day.
Next, the Rams will finish the regular season with an A-10 warmup in Philadelphia against La Salle on April 13. They will see more A-10 squads in the following days when they head to the A-10 Championship.