Royals' Rally In Singles Falls Short Against Drew In Landmark Title Match Saturday

Royals' Rally In Singles Falls Short Against Drew In Landmark Title Match Saturday
Senior Mike Pannone picked up a point with a win at the number four singles today against Drew University in the championship match of the Landmark Conference tournament at the Royal Courts. The Royals overcame a 3-0 deficit after doubles, but the Rangers hung on to win their sixth straight Landmark title.
Bennett Kelley Joe Morra
Tim McGurrin Mike Pannone

Box Score

Photo Gallery (Courtesy of Dan Ceccacci)

SCRANTON, Pa.—There was plenty of drama surrounding the Landmark Conference men’s tennis championship match between The University of Scranton and perennial power Drew University at the Royal Courts Saturday afternoon.

Nine days ago, the Royals overcame a 3-0 deficit after doubles play to pull off a stunning 5-4 victory over the Rangers, snapping their consecutive conference winning streak at 110 matches, a streak that began 13 years ago in the spring of 2000.

Scranton once again fell behind 3-0 after doubles, but Drew withstood a rally by the Royals in singles to pull out a 5-4 victory.  With the win, the Rangers, now 11-6, claimed their sixth Landmark title and 13th straight conference championship dating back to their previous affiliation with the Middle Atlantic Conference.  They will also receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III championships.

Drew’s hero turned out to be freshman Hunter Lathrop (South Londonderry, Vt./Stratton Mountain School), who overcame a 4-2 deficit in the third set to defeat David Teres (Lebanon, NJ/North Hunterdon), 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, to pick up the match-deciding point.  Lathrop also earned a point in doubles, teaming with Matt Imbo (Islip, NY/Islip) to down seniors Joe Morra (Bronx, NY/Fordham Preparatory) and Mike Pannone (Maplewood, NJ/Seton Hall Preparatory), 8-3.

Morra and Pannone each come back strong in singles, however, picking up wins over Djedjy Hill, 6-0, 6-4, at three and Imbo, 6-1, 6-1, at four, respectively, to join seniors Tim McGurrin (Clarks Summit, Pa./Scranton Preparatory) and Bennett Kelley (Pennington, NJ/Hopewell Valley Central) as winners in singles for Scranton.

McGurrin won this seventh straight match and improved to 8-4 this year and 38-19 in his career with a straight-set 6-2, 6-1 victory over Raul Smego (Ponce, Puerto Rico/Academia Cristo Rey) at one, while Kelley evened the match at 4-4 with a hard-fought 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 win over Tommy Butschi (Tyler, Texas/New Braunfels) at five.  Kelley is now 9-2 this year and 16-14 in his career in singles.

In addition to Lathrop’s win at two, the Rangers picked up another point in singles when Adam Clark (Fremont, Calif./John F. Kennedy) out-lasted senior James Dalkiewicz (Shavertown, Pa./Lake-Lehman), 6-1, 6-3 at six.

Smego and Hill held off McGurrin and Teres at one, 9-8 (7-5), and Butschi and Vin Mahon (Toms River, NJ/Toms River North) downed Kelley and senior Devin Patel (Clarks Summit, Pa./Scranton Preparatory), 8-5, at three to complete the doubles’ sweep.

The loss drops Scranton to 8-5 on the year.  It was also the fourth straight season that the Royals lost to the Rangers in the Landmark title match; the previous three conference championship matches were played in Madison, New Jersey.

The results of today’s match are as follows:

Drew University 5, University of Scranton 4
1. Raul Smego/Djedjy Hill (D) def. Tim McGurrin/David Teres, 9-8 (7-5)
2. Hunter Lathrop/Matt Imbo (D) def. Joe Morra/Mike Pannone, 8-3
3. Tommy Butschi/Vin Mahon (D) def. Bennett Kelley/Devin Patel, 8-5

1. Tim McGurrin (S) def. Raul Smego, 6-2, 6-1
2. Hunter Lathrop (D) def. David Teres, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
3. Joe Morra (S) def. Djedjy Hill, 6-0, 6-4
4. Mike Pannone (S) def. Matt Imbo, 6-1, 6-1
5. Bennett Kelley (S) def. Tommy Butschi, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1
6. Adam Clark (D) def. James Dalkiewicz, 6-1, 6-3

Match Notes:
Drew University 11-6
University of Scranton 8-5
Landmark Conference Championship Match
Drew University advances to NCAA Division III championships
Official: Dave Long  A-150
Roving Official:  Trinell Bull
Drew wins sixth straight Landmark Conference title


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