Tennis team takes Ontario title
By Anthony Thomas
The Western men's tennis team achieved their season goal this weekend and became Ontario University Athletics champions.
Held at York university, the Mustangs defeated Toronto 4-2 in the semi-finals on Saturday and then beat bitter rivals Queen's 4-2 for the championship on Sunday.
Western dominated the regular season, beating every team with the exception of Queen's. "It's really fitting that we beat Queen's in the final," said Brendan Collins, who was key to Western's appearance in the finals. "If we hadn't beaten Queen's it wouldn't have felt complete."
Collins was in the number two spot for the first time against Toronto moving up from the number five position earlier in the season. The move was a planned strategy on the part of Western coach Anthony Glavanic as players may only move up one spot per tournament.
"I had total confidence in Brendan. When he plays better players he plays better," Glavanic commented.
"It was a risky move but the whole team made me feel really comfortable playing in that spot. I wasn't going to let the team down," Collins said, when asked about Glavanic's strategy.
Toronto coach Sasha Vojnov said his team can be even better next year. "But Western seems to be the team we want to beat most," he said.
Moe Nemati and Kirin Keshav faced-off for the first time since an incident which almost got Nemati suspended for the entire season.
Keshav had won the first set and was up in the second when Keshav made what Nemati said he believes was a "really bad call." Tournament convenor Eric Bojesen would not get involved in the situation, leaving Glavanic frustrated because on match point in an earlier doubles match, Western's Jamie Dunnett touched the net and Bojesen was on the court immediately to resolve the issue personally.
Losing the fight but not the battle, Nemati fought off two match points and then made a controversial call of his own which the umpire would not overrule even after requests from Bojesen. Nemati won the second set in a 12-10 tie breaker and was tied 3-3 in the third set when Western's Azier Ania clinched the tournament in another singles match for Western. According to tennis policy, the Keshav-Nemati game was ended before completion since the championship had been decided.
After the tournament, Kirin Keshav was the only Queen's player to shake the Western players' hands congratulating the team and he also apologized to both Nemati and Glavanic.
"It was really classy. It's hard to be a good sport when you lose. It's easy to be a good winner," Glavanic said.
Jamie Dunnett was named the team's MVP but coach Galvanic compares the Western tennis team to the New York Yankees, because all of the players were important to the team.
The entire team will be back next season, with the exception of Dave Dodge.