Men’s Tennis won their fifth-straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Regular Season Championship after defeating Marist, 6-1, in West Long Branch last Wednesday before defeating Niagara 7-0 in their final game of the regular season on Saturday.
“I feel honored to be a part of this program,” said senior Srdjan Jakovljevic. “Being a senior, it’s even more surreal that I have the opportunity to continue my career as long as possible during the postseason. I hope we can win the fifth-straight championship and carry on the winning mentality to the NCAA’s (National Collegiate Athletic Association).”
Jakovljevic got it started in Monmouth’s Regular Season Championship clinching win over Marist with 6-0 and 6-2 singles wins. Senior Nicola Pipoli suffered the Hawks’ lone singles loss next in a 5-1 decision.
Junior Max Benaim, sophomore Will Cooke Wharton, and junior Sergio Martinez all won their singles matches with 6-1 and 6-2 wins. Senior Alberto Giuffrida won the last singles match. He rebounded from a 5-7 defeat in the opener with a 6-4 win before winning the deciding game 10-4.
In doubles, Pipoli and Cooke Wharton won their matchup 6-3 and Benaim and Martinez combined for a 7-6 win. Monmouth was defeated in the third and final doubles matchup when Jakovljevic and Giuffrida fell by a score of 7-6.
On Saturday, Monmouth closed out their regular season with a 7-0 sweep of Niagara in Little Silver, NJ.
Jakovljevic began singles with 6-0 and 6-1 wins. Following him, Benaim won 6-4 and 6-0, Cooke Wharton won 6-1 and 6-4, and Martinez won 6-0 and 6-1. Giuffrida was victorious to the tune of 6-1 and 6-2 before freshman Austin Klapman closed it out with 6-3 and 6-2 wins.
Benaim and Martinez kicked off doubles with a 6-3 win, followed by the combined efforts of Jakovljevic and Giuffrida who were 6-1 victors. Klapman and fellow freshman Sasha Pachnev closed out the win with a 6-1 result.
“We have some very aggressive team goals,” said Head Coach Chris Leicht. “The ultimate one is to win the MAAC and represent Monmouth University in the NCAA National Tourney.”
The Hawks finished their regular season on a 14 match win streak with an overall record of 16-1, as they went undefeated in conference play with a perfect 6-0.
Monmouth will enter the MAAC Tournament as the No. 1 seed and they will take on No. 4 seed Fairfield in the semifinals on Saturday in West Windsor, NJ at 2:00 p.m.
The Blue and White defeated the Stags 7-0 in their meeting on April 6 and currently hold a ten match win streak against them dating back to 2011.
PHOTO TAKEN by Karlee Sell