Purchase, NY (May 6, 2011) – Purchase tennis started strong and nearly upended top-seeded Farmingdale State in the Skyline Conference Tournament semifinals before the Rams pulled a late comeback in a close 5-3 decision, ending the Panthers’ season.
Although the Panthers narrowly fell short of their ultimate goal to win a championship, Purchase enjoyed an incredible spring campaign – one of the best of the year for the college – finishing in fourth place in the league standings. The Panthers came into the tournament as the fourth and final seed. Purchase would draw No. 1 FSC, which would go on to win the league tournament crown after slipping by the Panthers in the semifinals. Purchase led 2-1 after doubles against FSC, but couldn’t maintain its great start, falling 5-3 in the hard-fought semifinal.
[THREE-TIME ALL-SKYLINE SELECTION NICO MARCECA HELPED THE PANTHERS REACH THE SKYLINE SEMIS IN 2011. -Photo by Oren Vourman]
Purchase was led by star newcomer Brenden Keeling, who dazzled at No. 1 singles and doubles throughout the spring. At season’s end, he was named to the All-Skyline 1st Team. The sophomore transfer from Ontario, Canada was also in the running for league player of the year, going 6-1 in conference singles. Keeling will certainly be anchor for head coach Peter Nestel moving forward.
The Panthers only graduate one senior, but he will be sorely missed. Top singles and doubles standout Nico Marceca, who was named to the All-Skyline 2nd Team, graduates as one of the greatest Panthers to ever grace the courts at Purchase. Marceca earned three consecutive All-Skyline honors and concluded his Panther career by being named a SUNY Chancellor’s Scholar-Athlete Award winner, joining very elite company in the process.
The season began in March with their first match at Yeshiva. The Panthers edged their longtime rivals to get the ball rolling on a great spring that finished at 8-9 overall and 4-3 in league play. The regular season was highlighted by a spring break trip to Orlando and nice non-conference victories over York, CCNY and Brooklyn College. The Panthers also hung tough in a close defeat to regional power Baruch.
Also turning in solid seasons were co-captain Maxim Luiggi and key returnees Roger King, Blake Whitacre, Chris Matchneer and Carl Ackley. Newcomers Ben Ekis and Keeling also had a profound effect on the roster, which will return everyone – minus Marceca – including up-and-comer Dillon Torchia next spring.
-Kristen Barbagallo and Bobby Ciafardini, SID