Six-straight seasons in a row and the men’s tennis team still remains perfect. The Spartans defeated Johnson State College 7-2 on Saturday April 30 in the finals of the North Atlantic Conference East Division Men’s Tennis Championship. This is the sixth year in a row that the Spartans have secured the title of champions and the sixth-straight season they have gone undefeated in conference play during the regular season.
Castleton, who was the top seed in the tournament, advanced to the finals after defeating Thomas College 9-0, which was quite an accomplishment for the team according to Senior Justin Garritt.
“To beat Thomas 9-0, when we only beat them 5-4 during the regular year felt so good,” Garritt said.
Head Coach Bruce Moreton agrees with Garritt and said during the season the team was missing a player and Thomas almost completed the upset over the Spartans.
After defeating Thomas, Castleton would then take on second-seeded Johnson State who knocked off third-seeded Lyndon State in the previous match.
The Badgers started off strong winning first doubles 8-4. But the Spartans came back stronger after seniors’ Garritt and Eric Slosek won second doubles 8-2 and Adam McCaffery and Greg Klopfer securing third doubles 8-2 giving the Spartans a 2-1 advantage in doubles action.
In singles action the Spartans lost their first match, but then went on to sweep the rest of the competition.
Kevin Eisenberg, who was also awarded with the tournament Most Valuable Player Award, won second singles with scores of 6-4 and 6-0.
Calvin Henry won third singles, Willie Levine fourth singles, Klopfer fifth and McCaffery finishing strong at sixth singles.
The Spartans have not lost a conference game in six years and Garritt said that put a lot of pressure on the team to do well.
“Today was the best I have seen the team play all year. The guys stepped up and did not let the pressure get in the way of what we knew we had to do,” Garritt said.
Moreton said that pressure is part of being a tennis player here at Castleton. With the team’s success over the years the Spartans have created a bull’s eye on their backs for every team in their conference.
“Our players have had to work harder each year because the other teams in the conference would like nothing better than to end that winning streak,” Moreton said. “We’ll continue to focus on having fun, trying to improve, and keeping the winning tradition alive.”
“We have no idea what to expect from Penn State-Harrisburg. We have never played them or any other team in their conference. I do expect them to be very good,” Garritt said of their next opponent.
Moreton said this is the second time the team has played on these courts in Albany so the the team should be familiar with them.
He added that the team accomplished what they were looking for this season and no matter what the outcome of their upcoming match that they still have a lot to be proud of.
“Since the winner cannot advance to nationals this year, we are looking at the match as a reward for the season,” Moreton said.
To determine the NAC championship the Spartans will take on the NAC West Division Champion Penn State-Harrisburg on Saturday May 7 at Tri-City Fitness in Albany, NY.