The College of Staten Island men’s tennis team suffered their first loss of the young season, falling in non-conference action at the hands of Western New England College, 6-3, as part of Spring Break Tennis in Orlando, Florida.  The team is now 2-1 on the season, while WNEC improved to 2-2.
Arriving in Orlando late in the evening, the team traveled to RDV Sportsplex for the game, site of the NBA’s Orlando Magic practice facility.  With the temperature in the high 70’s, the weather was a welcome break for the winter-beaten Dolphins.  Despite the final score, CSI saw some opportunities pass in a match that could have went in either direction.
Play started with doubles, where WNEC got off to a 2-1 start.  After Brian Relihan and Mike Jones defeated CSI’s team of Nicholas Zikos and Joe Taranto at the No. 1 position, 8-4, the Dolphins scored a great win at the No. 3 position.  CSI’s team of senior Gary Ambartsumov and freshman Daniel Ursomanno got up on Matt Minahan and Shaun Fitzpatrick early 6-4, but after the WNEC tied the score at 6-6, CSI came charging back with both Dolphins smashing home winners for the final point in an 8-6 win.
The match seemed to take a decisive turn at No. 2 doubles as CSI lost a heartbreaker.  Up 6-2, and later, 7-4, CSI’s team of Patrick Thomas and Riad Hamai squandered the lead as WNEC’s Chris Holzinger and JeanPaul Ovellette rallied back to score a 9-8 (7-1) win, giving control back to the Massachusetts-bases team.
In Singles, CSI needed four flights to win, but ultimately would only get a pair.  Abartsumov was crisp again, scoring a decisive 6-4, 6-3, winner at No. 6 over Tim Sayntz, to put CSI back into things.  WNEC clinched the fifth point when Taranto fell at No. 4, but the Dolphins ended on a positive note when Masaru Takaki improved to 3-0 in singles play with a hard-earned, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) win at No. 5 over Minahan.
CSI will next face Otterbein College tomorrow afternoon at 3pm.