Franciscan defeats Penn State Behrend 9-0

Franciscan defeats Penn State Behrend 9-0

By John Gallagher

ROBINSON, Pa. - The Franciscan men's tennis team clinched the No. 1 seed heading into AMCC postseason play, courtesy of a 9-0 win against conference opponent Penn State Behrend.

At the No. 3 doubles spot, sophomore Jack Galla paired with freshman Luke Conrad, and the duo gave Franciscan the 1-0 match lead. Franciscan earned an 8-3 victory on the third court, routinely finishing points at the net, and returning serve well in the win. Galla served out the match on his own terms.

Senior duo John Gallagher and Connor Jooste stayed a break ahead of the competition in a close No. 2 doubles match. Bolstered by consistent net play from Jooste, the Barons saved two break points up 7-6 for the victory.

Sulak's consistent serves kept a No. 1 doubles match close on the first court. Down 6-5, the Barons ripped off a hold and a break for the 7-6 lead, before Haffner served out the match. Behrend earned only a single point on Haffner's doubles serves all afternoon.

Up 3-0 after the conclusion of doubles play, the Barons took the courts for singles play.

After Gallagher turned in a 6-2, 6-0 performance at the No. 3 singles spot, eyes turned to the first court, where Haffner solidified an undefeated conference singles season with a 6-1, 6-3 victory.

Jooste overcame a 3-0 deficit in the first set, rattling off six straight games for the 6-3 first set victory. Things tightened in the second set, but Jooste served out the match at 5-4 for the win at No. 4 singles.

At the No. 2 singles spot, Sulak needed everything he had to down his Behrend counterpart on the second court. Things tightened after a 6-3 first set, in a second set that saw a decision come 9-7 in a tiebreaker. Sulak capitalized on his third match point for the hard-fought win.

Conrad turned in a confident performance at the No. 5 singles spot, accruing solid leads in both sets before putting a 6-1, 6-2 win into the books. Conrad served-and-volleyed particularly well in the victory.

The last match on the court, super smart singles specialist Walter Matt was up 5-0 in the first set, finally taking it 6-2 after a break of serve. He rolled to a 6-0 second set for the win.

Lean, mean tennis machine Stephen Bolster commented after the win that "I didn't even touch a tennis racket."

The Barons will head to Erie, Pennsylvania for the first round of the AMCC postseason tournament, set to begin Saturday. Franciscan will take on the No. 4 seed Pitt.-Greensburg in the first match of the day at 3:30 pm.