MERION STATION, Pa. – Saint Joseph's senior Tim Stierle and freshman Johnnie Massart were crowned flight champions on Sunday as play wrapped up at the ninth annual SJU Men's Tennis Invitational. Stierle and junior Michael Santa Lucia teamed up to claim the top doubles consolation flight title as well.
Stierle won the top flight title for the second consecutive year by cruising past last year's runner-up, Balaji Lakshmanan of Drexel, 6-0, 6-1, in the semifinal and then taking a 7-6 (5), 6-4 result over La Salle's Francesco Mowrey in the final.
Massart dropped just six games on Saturday en route to the semifinals, but met stronger resistance from Villanova's Alastair Hurry before claiming a 2-6, 6-4, 10-7 victory. He then ground out another supertiebreaker win in the final, toppling Chris Auteri of Lehigh, 6-3, 4-6, 10-6.
In the second flight semifinals, senior Peter Dewitt and junior Dan Tan both fell in long matches, with Dewitt going down to Lehigh's Harry Wang, 3-6, 6-4, 10-4, and Tan succumbing to eventual champion Hamza Laalej of Drexel, 5-7, 7-5, 12-10.
In the consolation singles draws, sophomore Scott Battaglia fell to La Salle's Patrick Pascual, 6-2, 6-1, in the third flight. In the fourth, junior Alexander Schneider fell to Dylan Martinez of Villanova, 6-1, 6-2, while La Salle's Andrija Bozovic topped freshman Alex MacNeil, 6-4, 5-7, 10-5.
On the doubles side, Stierle and Santa Lucia fell down a break, 3-2, before roaring back for an 8-5 win over Wang and Jack Petersen of Lehigh in the flight one consolation final.
"The singles results, winning flights one and three, were very positive and showed great depth, and we're very pleased with that result," head coach Ian Crookenden said. "It does point out, however, that doubles is something that we're going to have to continue to emphasize and work on as I would like to see that doubles play improve.
"It was a good weekend for everybody, with positive play and positive performances, and it was satisfying that we won two of the singles flights."
The Hawks will next return to competition at the ITA Regionals on October 19.