ECC CHAMPS! On Senior Day, Alex Martinez wins decisive match as men's tennis claims title vs. Queens

L to R: deputy AD Danny Hagenlocher, coach Owen Kassimir, Rares Ispas, Matej Selecky, Alexandre Martinez, assistant AD Kat Zabielski on Senior Day.
L to R: deputy AD Danny Hagenlocher, coach Owen Kassimir, Rares Ispas, Matej Selecky, Alexandre Martinez, assistant AD Kat Zabielski on Senior Day.

OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. — On Senior Day, Alexandre Martinez delivered NYIT men's tennis the East Coast Conference regular-season title.

With all of his teammates intently watching, Martinez defeated Jose Zurro, 7-6 (8-6), 4-6, 6-4, in a winner-take-all match at sixth singles to return the league crown to NYIT after a one-year hiatus.

The Bears defeated defending-champion Queens, 5-4, on Friday to complete the ECC regular season 5-0.

NYIT will be the No. 1 seed in next weekend's ECC Championships and could again face Queens if both teams advance to the finals.

The Bears face No. 4 St. Thomas Aquinas in next Friday's semifinals at 11 a.m. Queens will host the ECC Championships on campus in Flushing, N.Y.

"It was pretty crazy," Martinez said. "I'm very happy to win this match, because last weekend against Le Moyne I lost the decisive match. This time, against a big team, I gave the win to my team. So I'm very happy about that."

The Bears, who improved to 10-1 this academic year and are ranked No. 1 in the East Region, faced an uphill climb against Queens.

After dropping the opening two doubles matches, Francisco Caldas and Maxton Cook rallied from a 6-2 deficit at first doubles by winning the next six games. That left NYIT trailing 2-1 after doubles action.

"It was the most important match — other than Alex's match," Cook said. "If we didn't win that doubles, we wouldn't have been able to ultimately clinch it. We were down a lot. We couldn't hit many returns. But once we got our returns down, we started winning the points. And that was it."

Later, with NYIT trailing 4-2 in matches, Caldas at second singles, Selecky at first singles and ultimately Martinez prevailed to deliver NYIT the ECC championship.

Selecky defeated Gabriel Mendez, 2-6, 6-2, 6-0, to even the matches at four apiece.

Queens had snapped NYIT's 29-match ECC winning streak a year ago during the regular season, then ended NYIT's four-year run as league postseason champs in the ECC finals last April.

Before Friday's match, NYIT honored seniors Rares Ispas and Martinez as well as the redshirt senior Selecky on Senior Day.