The Roadrunner Men's Tennis team earned more than a routine win with their 5-4 triumph over host Ocean County College on Saturday. The hard-fought Garden State Athletic Conference and Region XIX triumph is clearly a positive shift in momentum for coach Brian Rowan's squad.
The victory avenged an eary season loss to the Vikings at home and helped the Runners move into a tie with Ocean County atop the GSAC standings.
"This was a very nice win for us over a quality opponent," said Coach Rowan. "We played well today and never gave up."
The Runners earned key singles wins from No. 3 J.P. Ciliberto, No. 4 Jake Carlson and No. 5 Zach Carr. Ciliberto defeated the Vikings' Yanir Shriki 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, while Carlson topped Tim Kelleher 6-4, 6-1. Carr survived a tough battle over Carl Genz, 6-7, 6-2, 6-2.
"I had a little bit of a slow start, but once I settled in I got into a nice groove," Carr said. "The competition was amazing today and I was glad to play a role in it."
The match started at 1pm and did not finish until after 5pm in Toms River, NJ. The two teams are now tied atop the Garden State Athletic Conference standings. The match was livestreamed by the Ocean County Athletic staff and can be viewed via archive here: https://livestream.com/oceancountycollege/events/8638543
The Runners head into a tough week of competition, hosting Mercer CC on Tuesday at 3:30, visiting Brookdale Friday at 3:30 and hosting SUNY Broome CC Saturday at 1 p.m.
More from sophomore JP Ciliberto: "Today was a great win for the team, especially after our tough loss the first time we played Ocean County a few weeks ago. We knew going into this match that it would be a challenge for us and everyone played much better. Our doubles came out strong, with first and second doubles winning. My doubles partner Paulo and I played much better at second doubles today and we were able to secure a come from behind win. In my singles match, I struggled to find a rythm at first, but managed to keep the match close and took it to a third set. After going up 2-0, I lost the lead and found myself down 2-5, serving to keep the match alive. At that point, I flipped a switch mentally and gave it everyting I had, and came back to win 7-5. Today was a great confidence booster for our team moving forward."
More from sophomore Zach Carr: "Today was a crucial win for the team. Given last time we lost to them 3-6, today we took the victory with a 5-4 score. I would have to say our true potential came out in our singles matches. 5 out of the 6 of us went to a third set. We were all grinding, and I know a few of the guys who lost at singles were upset, they should be proud with how they played. I'm especially proud of our 6th singles, Tate, he put up a phenomenal battle. Although he lost in the third set, he should keep his head up because that was one of the best matches I have ever seen him play in. I would also like to say congrats to JP for finishing strong in the 3rd set. He was down 2-5, if I'm correct, and came back to win 7-5 in the third set. If it wasn't for his hard work, we would not have been able to secure the win."