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Knights gain valuable experience at Mercer NIT!


The CCRI Knights entered the Mercer County Community College National Invitational Tournament over the April 13-14 weekend. The tournament, typically hosted by Harford Community College, was moved to Mercer this year because Harford’s courts are being torn up and replaced this spring. The tournament featured a fully-flighted tournament 1-6 singles, 1-3 doubles and included an exhibition No. 7 singles flight. Both singles and doubles included a main draw and a full back draw. The format of play for the main draw singles was best 2-of-3 sets, no-ad scoring, with a match tiebreak (first to 10 win by two) in lieu of a third set. The format for back draw singles and all the doubles was an 8-game pro-set, no-ad scoring, with a 12-point tiebreak at 8-8.
In #1 singles, Mike Fallone (North Providence, RI) opened with a first round match against Ambrose Tingan from Brookdale Community College. Fallone spotted Tingan a 5-1 lead, starting slow in the first set. Then Fallone turned the tide, winning the next eight games and 12 out of the next 15 to take the contest 7-5 and 6-3. In the second round, Fallone faced off against No. 3 seed, A.J. Moore from Gloucester County College. Moore, who had dispatched Fallone from the first round of the 2011 National Tournament, came out on top again, but this time in a much tighter affair. Fallone fell to Moore, 6-2, 1-6 and 1-0(12-10), ending his run in the tournament. Fallone was able to earn two points with his first-round win.

In 2nd singles, Anthony Lamborghini (Smithfield, RI) also faced a player from Brookdale Community College in his first round match, Francisco Areneo. Areneo also started strong, and Lamborghini dropped the first set 6-1. Anthony fought back to take the second set 6-2. He then got off to a slow start in the tiebreak, going down 1-4 before fighting back again, to get to 6-4. He wasn’t able to maintain his momentum, however, as Areneo came up with some key shots and Lamborghini just missed some very close ones, to drop the tiebreak 10-7, losing the match. The first-round loss moved Anthony into the back draw. Anthony defeated Tom O’Halloran from SUNY Delhi 8-0, then Elman Amador from Montgomery Rockville 8-1 before succumbing to Andrew Pfeiffer from Gloucester County College 8-0. For his two back draw victories, Lamborghini earned a total of one point for the team.

In 3rd singles, Nicholas DeAngelis (Northborough, MA) faced off against Adam Czaplinski from host Mercer County Community College in the first round. DeAngelis dropped the match, 6-0 and 6-1. In his back draw match, DeAngelis fell to SUNY Delhi’s Sean O’Connell, a player he had beaten two weeks earlier, 8-5.

In 4th singles, Ross Bouchard (South Kingstown, RI) faced Jeff Castera, also from host Mercer County Community College. Castera had beaten Timothy Holzinger (Foster, RI) in a hard-fought match just two weeks earlier. Bouchard battled, winning the first set 6-3, dropping the second set 6-7(7-4), and pulling out the match tiebreak 1-0(10-7) to win the match, and earn two points for the team. In his second-round match, Bouchard came up against the 3rd seed Vladislav Sluchenkov from Division I Harford Community College. Bouchard battled impressively against the DI player, succumbing 6-4 and 6-2, ending his singles run in the tournament.

In 5th singles, Holzinger dispatched Shawn Sullivan from Onondaga Community College for the second time in as many weeks, 6-2 and 6-0, earning two points for CCRI. In his second round match, Holzinger came up against Vincenzo Ciccone, from Division I ASA and battled in a match that was much closer than the score line suggests. Holzinger fell 6-1 and 6-0 but eight of the 13 games went to deuce and the stronger player was able to capitalize on all of the important sudden-death points. Ciccone went on to win flight five, dropping only three total games in three matches, one of them to Tim.

In 6th singles, Nicholas Morin (North Smithfield, RI) prevailed over Jaison Lewinski from Brookdale Community College, 6-1 and 6-0, earning two points for CCRI. In his second round match, Morin came up against Pavel Zhdanov, from Division I ASA and fell 6-0 and 6-1. Zhdanov went on to win flight six without dropping one single game more.

In 1st doubles, Fallone and Lamborghini teamed up to face Moore and Donovan Vassalotti from Gloucester County College. The Gloucester pair were victorious 9-8(7-3) in a match that truly could have gone either way. Fallone and Lamborghini then entered the back draw and defeated Bill Humphries and Lorenz Macasadia from Ocean County College for the second time in as many meetings in the semifinals, 8-1, and then won the back draw final 8-0 over O’Halloran and Rich Felter from SUNY-Delhi, again a team they had beaten two weeks earlier. The back draw finals run earned Fallone and Lamborghini 1.5 points for the team.

In 2nd doubles, Holzinger and Bouchard faced the No. 3 seeds, Vlad Koldomasov and Pfeiffer from Gloucester County College falling 8-2. Moving into the back draw, the CCRI tandem fell to Castera and Travis Virgil of Mercer who then withdrew from their final, conceding the spot to the 2nd doubles pair from Onondaga.

In 3rd doubles, DeAngelis and Morin started strong, capturing their opening round match, and with it three points (having had a 1st round bye), 8-4. They then faced off against No. 2 seed Harford Community College (the Division I pair of Victor Polyak and Sluchenkov), falling to the pair in a close match, 8-5.

Final Team Results:
Standing/Team                                                  Points
1. ASA (DI)                                                             38
2. Harford Community College (DI)                        34
3. Gloucester County College                               27.5
4. Mercer County Community College                 17.5
5. Nassau Community College                                 17
6. Community College of Rhode Island                13.5
7. Brookdale Community College                            13
8. Onondaga Community College                            11
9. Ocean County College                                        8.5
10. Montgomery College at Rockville                     3.5
11. SUNY Delhi                                                        3

Head Coach Deb Panzica commented after the tournament: “This tournament was great experience for our players, and a good example of how almost anything can happen in a tournament format. For example, by virtue of the draw, CCRI and Nassau Community College finished below hosts Mercer County Community College despite CCRI having beaten Mercer head-to-head and CCRI having lost to Nassau head-to-head. A couple of key points here or there and we could have conceivably finished above Nassau Community College. All-in-all, this was great experience for our players in preparation for the National Tournament at the end of the year in Plano, Texas.”

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Last Updated: 3/6/18