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UMBC SWEEPS MEN'S & WOMEN'S NEC TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
West Windsor, NJ -- UMBC's reign of dominance in NEC tennis continued on Sunday, as the Retrievers won their fifth straight women?s title and fourth consecutive men's crown with a scintillating performances in the finals of the 2003 NEC Men?s and Women?s Tennis Championships at the Mercer County Tennis Center in West Windsor, NJ. UMBC, seeded at #1 in both the men's and women's divisions, blanked #2 Fairleigh Dickinson, 4-0, in the men?s championship and ousted #2 Quinnipiac, 4-0, in the women?s finale. One of the most intense rivalries in the NEC in any sport, the UMBC and Quinnipiac women met for the fourth consecutive year in the title match. And for the fourth consecutive year, the result was exactly the same, a 4-0 shutout in favor of the Retrievers. UMBC won a hotly contested doubles point when the #1 duo of Anita Pushpanathan (New Foundland, Canada/Prince of Wales Collegiate) and Lana Khvalina (Rochester, NY/Brighton) stopped the Bobcats? Cristin Arahovites (Cold Spring Harbor, NY/Cold Spring Harbor) and Tina Hoang (Humble, TX/Humble), 8-3. UMBC clinched the crown in singles play when #3 flight player Tia Kaasalainen (Pirkkala, Finland/Sampo) ousted Arahovites, 6-3, 6-4, following wins by teammates Ale Pedergnana (Holliswood, NY/St. Francis Prep), who scored a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Heather Rahm (San Diego, CA/Torrey Pines) at #4, and Aimee Lim (New City, NY/Clarkstown South), who downed Katherine Ehle Marshfield, MA/Marshfield), 6-2, 6-1 at #6. UMBC?s five consecutive women?s tennis titles is the longest streak in the NEC in any sport. Red-hot Fairleigh Dickinson had its 11-match winning streak stopped in the men?s championship, as the Knights fell to the Retrievers for the second straight year by the same 4-0 score. After taking the doubles point, UMBC cruised to the title with three straight set victories in singles competition. UMBC #2 flight player Mikhail Kouznetsov (Moscow, Russia/Fort Lauderdale Prep) downed Daniel Wynne (Norwich, England/Notre Dame), 6-2, 6-0, while #4 Luis Baraldi (Fort Lauderdale, FL/Cardinal Gibbons) tripped Angel Rubio (Mexico City, Mexico/ITESM-CEM), 6-4, 6-1, and #6 Djan Gusmao (Novo Hamburgo, Brazil/Institute Evangelico) overwhelmed Rodrigo Avila (Bogota, Colombia/Bradenton Academy), 6-1, 6-2. UMBC did not drop a single set in each of the last four NEC Tournaments. UMBC now advances to the NCAA Tournament as the NEC?s automatic qualifier for both men and women. Men?s first and second round NCAA competition commences on May 10, while NCAA regionals for women begin on May 9.