FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – Paul Vecchio outlasted Goucher's Franklin Mullinix in a third-set tiebreaker to cap the Ursinus College men's tennis team's season-opening trip to the University of Mary Washington with the B3 singles title at the ITA Southeast Regionals.
Vecchio registered three consecutive straight-sets victories – two against Centennial Conference foes, one of whom was an all-conference performer a year ago – before rallying for a 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3) result that made him just the second player in program history to win a flight at the ITA regional championships. Dylan Marsh also accomplished the feat in the B5 singles draw in 2012.
Vecchio won both of his B3 singles matches on Saturday, gaining the semifinals with a pair of straight-sets triumphs, the second over McDaniel's Luke Shuck in the quarters. The sophomore then seized a spot in the final with a 6-3, 6-2 defeat of Dickinson's Sam Loring – an honorable mention All-Centennial Conference performer last season.
Vecchio was one of six Bears to make the trip to Virginia, all of whom picked up at least one victory.
Senior Peter Shields and freshman Mason Groff, one of two new doubles pairings for Ursinus, kicked off the 2017-18 campaign with an 8-2 rout of Garrett Malave and Andrew Rainger of regionally ranked Salisbury in the first round of the B1 doubles tournament. With the victory, the first of Groff's career, Shields moved into a tie with Mike Melchiorre '15 for seventh in program history with 29 doubles wins.
Shields and Groff were edged, 8-6, by Johns Hopkins' Nathan Safran and Eric Yoo in the quarterfinals.
Playing together for the first time, junior Jake Lachowicz – making his collegiate doubles debut – and sophomore Conor DeFaber-Schumacher opened the Bears' stay with an 8-5 victory over Randolph-Macon's Edgar Ellis and Joseph Kaneda to reach the quarterfinals of the B2 doubles draw.
Bidding for a spot in the semifinals, the pair was denied by Goucher's Elliot Diehl and Slade Dumas in a 9-8 thriller.
In championship doubles play, senior Max Oberholtzer and Vecchio dropped an 8-4 decision to Christopher Salisbury and Jake Sandler of Washington College in the first round and an 8-3 final against Bridgewater's Joseph Dillenbeck and Joshua Rodgers in the consolation bracket.
Oberholtzer kicked off championship singles play with a resounding 6-2, 6-4 victory against Swarthmore's Josh Powell, a first team All-CC doubles selection a year ago. Looking to become the first Ursinus men's player to reach the Round of 16 in championship singles since head coach Pete Smith in 1989, Oberholtzer held a 5-4 first-set advantage on fifth-seeded David Reed of Christopher Newport before dropping the next nine games in a 7-5, 6-0 setback.
Oberholtzer's first-round result moved him into a tie for sixth in school history with 33 singles wins, and into a tie for eighth with 59 overall wins.
Groff opened his singles career with a 6-0, 6-2 rout of Anthony Wilson to reach the quarterfinals of the B2 singles draw. He then lost a tight 6-4, 7-6 (6) match opposite Haverford's Robert Kresch.
The men's tennis team goes into hibernation for the winter, and will return to action with a non-conference match against Arcadia on February 24.