Barons net AMCC title

ERIE, Pa. – The Franciscan University of Steubenville men’s tennis team did it again.

Although, this time, the Barons had to work a little harder and hold onto the excitement factor a little longer.

Thanks to a three-set win at No. 2 singles, FUS captured its third Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference championship Sunday with a 5-4 victory over Pitt-Greensburg.

“My heart has slowed down, it was beating rather quickly,” head coach Jeremy Ellis said after the team solidified the win. “It was intense but it was great.”

It gives the Barons a second straight trip to the NCAA tournament.

“The match was really tight all the way down the line up until the end,” Ellis said. “The guys prepared for this and stayed mentally tough.”

FUS won two of the three doubles matches – No. 1 Paul Jarzynka and Zachary Quiza (8-4) and No. 2 Luke Merry and David Freytag (8-3).

Pitt-Greensburg took a 3-2 lead as the Barons’ Joseph Staniszewski lost at No. 6 singles (6-1, 7-5) and No. 1 Jarzynka lose 6-2, 6-2.

“His player specifically got ready for Paul and played really well,” Ellis said.

No. 4 Merry won 6-1, 6-2 and No. 3 Freytag grabbed a 6-4, 6-3 victory for a 4-3 lead.

Pitt-Greensburg tied it 4-4 as No. 5 Robert Butcher dropped a three-setter.

That left it up to Quiza, who split the first two sets.

“It was epic, Zach needed the motivation and we had all the guys out on the court,” Ellis said. “They just gave him the energy to finish the match.”

Quiza secured both victories, 6-2, in the third.

“I was nervous but coach told me to calm down and to trust myself,” Quiza said. “So, I stayed positive and tried to play my game and the whole team was encouraging the whole time which helped me be focused.”

After he clinched the win and shook the hand of his opponent, his teammates rushed the court and tackled him out of excitement.

“Everyone was super pumped,” Quiza said. “As a team this victory just shows that we were able to pull through. Even when it was hard everyone was fighting in every single match no matter the result. It just shows that we’re a strong team that doesn’t give up.”

Ellis said that it has been quite the feat to win three titles and go to the NCAA tournament for a second time.

“At the end of it after we won it there was a lot of emotion,” Ellis said. “It’s an emotional time, we’re losing three of our players one being our four year captain and you can’t end on a more epic match.”