(Posted April 19, 2006)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. ? Arguably the finest season in the history of the Juniata College men?s tennis season came to a heartbreaking conclusion Wednesday afternoon as the Eagles dropped a 4-3 decision to Albright College in the semifinals of the Commonwealth Conference postseason. The third-seeded Lions, who improved to 9-9 with the win, will move on to play top-seed Messiah College on Saturday. Juniata closes its season with a record of 13-5, which establishes a new program record for wins in a season.

The match was competitive the entire day as four of the six singles contests were decided in three sets. After Albright claimed two of the three doubles matches to claim an early 1-0 lead, Juniata needed to win four of the six singles contests to secure the win.

Juniata seemed in position to do just that as both Neil Eicher (Altoona/Altoona) at first singles, and Brandon Long (Lebanon/Lebanon) at fourth singles held 3-2 leads in the third set of their singles outings, with Juniata needing a win from either player to secure the match. But Jeremy Speicher rallied to claim a 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 win over Eicher and David Scherler did the same at four singles with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 win that earned the victory for Albright.

Juniata fought back into the match with three-set victories at both second and sixth singles. Jonathan Skoner (Central Catholic/Pittsburgh) claimed a 6-0, 6-7, 6-3 victory over Yoshihiro Otsuka at second singles for Juniata and Jonathan Cohen (Highland Regional/Hollywood, Fla.) rallied from a one-set deficit to earn a 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 win over Jeff Sussmann at sixth singles.

Juniata?s other win on the singles courts came at the fifth position where Ryan Navarro (Bishop Guilfoyle/Altoona) earned a 6-4, 6-3 triumph over Nick Loris. Albright?s Majid Ghodousi earned the other singles win for the Lions with his 6-0, 6-3 victory over Brian Sykes (Gateway Regional/Woodburry Heights, N.J.) at third singles.

In doubles action, Juniata was able to earn a point at the second position as the team of Robert Bowser (Dallastown/York) and Tom Nelson (State College/State College) claimed an 8-5 win over Ghodousi and Loris. Albright took the other two doubles matches to earn the doubles point. Speicher and Otsuka out-fought Eicher and Long 8-5 at first doubles while Scherler and Sussman held off a furious comeback from Cohen and Jack Walfish (Spring-Ford/Royersford) to earn an 8-6 win at third doubles.

Though the team season is over for the Eagles, Juniata will send a full contingent to the MASCAC Individual Championships which will be held April 29-30.


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Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.