One four-peat is good. But as NYIT tennis coach Jason Pasion could tell you, two four-peats are better.
NYIT’s men’s and women’s teams captured their fourth consecutive East Coast Conference championships this season and will seek a fourth straight trip to the round of 16 at the NCAA Division II Tournament.
The men’s team clinched the conference title in April and is the No. 2 seed in the tournament’s East Region NYIT kicked off tournament play Monday with a 5-0 win over No. 7 seed Merrimack on the Bears’ home court. They will host either No. 3 Adelphi or No. 6 Chestnut Hill at 3 p.m. today.
The women’s team, which won the conference in the fall, earned a No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in the East Region, and will host No. 5 Chestnut Hill in the round of 32 at 11 a.m. today.
“It’s been a pretty fun ride,” said Pasion, who is in his second season as the coach of both teams, and was named the ECC’s women’s Coach of the Year and men’s Co-Coach of the Year. Pasion added that his predecessor, Chris Frusci, “did a great job recruiting some very good players. I was fortunate.”
The men’s team (19-3, 5-0) is led by junior Matej Selecky, who was named the ECC’s men’s Player of the Year. The Slovakia native is the third-ranked singles player in the East Region by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and went 14-2 in singles in 2016. Selecky is also 4-1 in doubles, partnering with Jorge Gonzales Soler to form the third-ranked doubles team in the ITA East Region.
Selecky also is joined on the men’s team by Tomas Lieb.“This is his senior year, so he has seen the team get better and better over the years. He has really taken charge of this team,” Pasion said of Lieb.
Alessia Rossetti leads the women’s team (19-6, 7-0), and the Switzerland native was named the women’s conference Player of the Year in October.
“She’s just an unbelievable player,” Pasion said of Rossetti, who went 14-2 in singles and 6-1 in doubles this season, despite playing through injuries. “She’s a fighter. There have been some matches where she’s had to serve underhand. She just finds a way to win.”
Rossetti’s teammates, Paulina Velasquez (Kew Gardens) and Melanie Benyadi (France) joined her as first team All-ECC players, while Alexandra Borgenhoff (Switzerland) and Justyna Krol (Poland) were named to the second team.
“We have players from all around the world, so trying to find a common ground was tough at first,” Pasion said. “But they really all embrace each other’s cultures. They ask a lot of questions about how things are done in the others’ countries. They’ve learned a lot about each other.”