HUNTINGTON, Ind. – The Marian University men's tennis won the Crossroads League Tournament Saturday after they defeated No. 2-seeded Huntington, 5-1. The tournament title is the second in program history and comes in head coach Steve Mackell
's fourth season at the helm for MU.
The Knights victory on Saturday was the second upset in a row the young team has pulled off this tournament. MU had to defeat No. 1-seeded Grace in the semifinal round earlier in the week in order to make it to the tournament championship.
In doubles, the Knights went 2-1. Sophomore Jason Denton
and freshman Marty Pochop
got the Knights started with an 8-5 victory at No. 1 over Vlad Khudziy and Jose Hungria. At No. 2 doubles, Huntington tied the match at 1-1 with an 8-3 victory over junior Mitchell Trammel
and freshman Danny Albert
. The Knights then took a 2-1 advantage after senior Nick Batuello
and sophomore Taylor Kinney
defeated Zakk Sparks and Derek Hinen.
When looking back on MU's results over the Crossroads League Tournament, it is easy to see what a huge role doubles played in the Knights establishing themselves early in matches. In all three tournament matches, MU took at 2-1 advantage into singles play.
In singles play, Pochop was victorious at No. 5 after he defeated Zakk Sparks 6-0, 6-0. Sophomore Ryan Heuer
then took down Derek Hinen at No. 6 in a 6-1, 6-0 match. Then to seal the tournament title for MU, Denton beat Joseph Straznicky 6-1, 6-4.
Denton's play has been key for the Knights all tournament long. Denton didn't lose in singles or doubles throughout all three rounds of the league tournament and finishes the regular season with a 12-5 singles record.
MU finishes the 2013 regular season with a 9-3 overall record and will now head to the NAIA National Tournament in Mobile, Ala., at the Mobile Tennis Center. The Crossroads League is the only NAIA league to play a fall league schedule, therefore, MU will have to wait until May 13-17 to play in the NAIA National Tournament. However, it will be a wait well worth it. The Knights came into the season with the slogan "it's our time, it's Knight time" and indeed after Saturday's tournament title there is no better way to describe MU's 2013 Crossroads League Tournament run.