RINDGE — In their season opener, the Franklin Pierce men’s tennis team chalked up a 5-1 victory over Southern New Hampshire University, dealing the Penmen their first Northeast-10 defeat in 2174 days, dating to April 17, 2015.
With the win, Franklin Pierce — ranked seventh in this week’s ITA East Region rankings — opens its season at 1-0 (1-0 NE10), while SNHU — ranked second in the region — falls to 1-1 (1-1 NE10). In addition to snapping the run of 38 straight NE10 wins, the Franklin Pierce victory also ended a SNHU streak of 47 straight victories over NE10 institutions, including postseason contests. The Penmen are the four-time defending NE10 champions and have participated in the NE10 title match seven of the last nine seasons.
The teams traded a pair of doubles matches to start things off. At second doubles, graduate student Kevin Denecheau and freshman Ivan Bernal picked up a 6-4 win for the Ravens, but SNHU struck back at first doubles.
This left the doubles point up for grabs at third doubles. Franklin Pierce opened up a 1-0 lead in the match after seniors Yuval Barak and Nkrumah Patrick pulled out a 6-3 win.
Franklin Pierce took control in singles play with a pair of straight-set wins to increase the lead to 3-0.
The other three singles contests were all three sets and each featured a tiebreak along the way as well. The first of the three contests to go final went the Ravens’ way, which wrapped up the team match. Sophomore Joel Cladera chalked up a 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-4 win at fourth singles to give Franklin Pierce an insurmountable 4-0 lead.
The Ravens are scheduled to return to action on Saturday, April 3, at home against Saint Michael’s at 1 p.m.