The University of Scranton men's tennis team begins its postseason quest for a Landmark Conference Championship on Wednesday when it hosts Juniata in a semifinal match. Match time between the Royals and Eagles is set for 3:00 p.m. at the Royal Courts in Scranton.
Scranton is the #2 seed in the spring's postseason tournament after finishing the regular season with a 12-3 overall record including a 6-1 mark in Landmark Conference contests. The Royals have won their last seven matches since suffering their only conference setback of the year, a 5-4 loss to Goucher on April 7.
Scranton is making its third straight trip to the Landmark Conference playoffs and are seeking their first league crown. The Royals are also looking to make their first appearance in the Landmark Conference championship match since 2013 when Scranton made the last of four consecutive championship match trips.
Junior Charles Swope (Malvern, Pa./Great Valley) leads the Royals with 12 wins in singles competition this season, classmate Brian Harkins (New Fairfield, Conn./New Fairfield) has 11 singles wins, and freshman Tarquin McGurrin (Clarks Summit, Pa./Scranton Prep) has posted 10 singles victories this year. Swope, Harkins, and freshman Connor Lemieux (Guilford, Conn./The Gunnery) tied for the team-lead with five singles wins in Landmark Conference matches.
Harkins paces the Royals with 11 victories in doubles matches while senior Christian Aksu (Exton, Pa./West Chester East) and junior Alexander Ochalski (Hopewell, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central) have picked up 11 wins in doubles competition. Harkins and Ochalski went a perfect 6-0 in Landmark Conference matches at #2 doubles.
Junior Jason Gerber has won a team-leading 10 singles matches for Juniata this spring including a 4-1 record in Landmark Conference matches. Senior Rory Donaldson and junior Dan Ansel were also victorious in four conference singles matches apiece.
Gerber has also posted a team-leading nine wins in doubles play while Ansel has contributed eight victories in doubles competition.
Scranton won the regular season meeting between the two teams, 8-1, on April 22 at Juniata. McGurrin, Swope, Harkins, and senior Keller McGurrin (Clarks Summit, Pa./Scranton Prep) won two matches apiece to lead the Royals while Owen Grafe notched the Eagles' lone point with a victory at #3 singles.
Top-seeded Goucher hosts #4 seed Susquehanna on Wednesday's other semifinal matchup.
The two semifinal winners will play on Saturday at the site of the highest remaining seed for the Landmark Conference championship. Saturday's title match winner will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.