Pirates fight on to PBC quarterfinals

Pirates fight on to PBC quarterfinals

Teresa Durham, Staff Writer

Pictured: Men’s Tennis players Ignacio Hernandez and Luca Cerin. (Armstrong Communications)

It was an emotional weekend for tennis players and their fans as the teams play their last home matches.

Winning this weekend’s match versus the Nighthawks gained Pirates a No. 2 seed spot in the Peach Belt Conference.

Against Auburn Montgomery University’s Warhawks, the men were only able to win 3 matches, suffering a loss in the non-conference competition. The women were most successful at 5-3, with the only noteworthy highlight being that Paula Boixader Roca hurt her left leg on a return and could not play Saturday.

The last match with the North Georgia Nighthawks, which had been postponed for a week due to bad weather conditions, was particularly special for several reasons: old double partnerships were reunited and it was Senior Day.

A nice senior ceremony was held before the match honoring Diana Stomlega’s, Ignacio Hernandez’s, and Luca Cerin’s outstanding performance as Pirates.

Overall, the men won 7-2 and the women 8-1, making for a fantastic finish.

After Paula Boixader Roca’s leg injury during a match against the Warhawks, Lutzeier paired up with original partner Diana Stomlega. The duo easily fell back into their routine of beating their opponents, Baratta and Waidner, 8-2 for No. 1 doubles.

A new doubles pair comprised of Lenka Styblova and Tatjana Stoll performed in No. 2 doubles, winning their match at 8-3 against Nighthawks’ Bennett and Etelalahati. The timeless pair of Tamri Chalaganidze and Alice Patch kept their winning streak with a victory at 8-4.

In singles, senior Diana Stomlega wrapped up with a score of 6-0 for both sets against Bennett.

Lenka Styblova for No. 6 singles was able to streak out a 6-4, 6-4 win over Etelalahati.

Alice Patch at 6-3, 6-3, Lena Lutzeier with 6-2, 6-3, and finally Tamri Chalaganidze at 6-2, 6-0 all won their matches. Lutzeier seemed particularly emotional but was up and laughing with friends and teammates soon.

Ranked No. 17, Tatjana Stoll had the hardest time against Felicia Baratta as they went into a third set 10-point tiebreaker.  At 1-6, 6-2, 10-3, Stoll unfortunately lost, but played an amazing season overall.

The men’s team cleaned up almost just as well.

They seemed to have it harder in the doubles department with No. 1 doubles going into an extra game, making the score 9-8. Luca Cerin and Ignacio Hernandez fielded it well. No. 2 doubles was easily won at 8-3 with a team of Jan Porteset and Alberto Caceres. The new freshman duo of Alvaro Chamarro and Bjorn Kurtze also defeated their opponents at 8-5.

No surprise, Ignacio “Nacho” Hernandez was the very first player finished that evening as No. 3 singles, winning his last match by 6-1, 6-0.

Jan Porteset won against Mark Laishley 6-2, 6-3. Alvaro “Chamo” Chamorro finished next but only due to a muscle cramp late into the match. Eventually Chamorro could not recover. He lost 3-6, 7-5, 10-5, while Luca Cerin had an intense match up with Niklas Zeilen.

Cerin fought hard and pushed himself to his limit, but lost at 6-2, 7-5. Alberto Caceres was done next, winning at 7-6, 5-7, 10-3.

Lorenzo Camilli was the last to win his tiebreak, but he did 3-6, 6-4, 11-9, shouting, “Let’s go, Pirates!”

President Bleicken was in attendance and expressed how proud she is of the athletes this season.

“Everybody has done such a marvelous job. What a great tradition this has been and what wonderful student athletes,” Bleicken said. “I don’t think people generally know how outstanding our student athletes are.”

Head Coach Sean McCaffrey was excited and looking forward to the next step in the PBC Tournament.

“Today was great {with}a chance to send off our seniors Luca, Nacho, and Diana. They’ve obviously meant a lot to the program.” he said. “We’re excited about getting our full team back and healthy and we’ll see what happens next.”

The PBC Tournament Quarterfinals will be April 21-23 at the Dr. Eddie Floyd Tennis Center in Florence South Carolina.