HAMDEN, Conn. — Freshman Zach Lieb finished as a champion in his first weekend of college competition, taking the B singles flight at the Quinnipiac Invitational on Sunday. It was the second title of the weekend for Wesleyan, with sophomores Andrew Finkelman and Marcus Sweeney winning the B doubles flight on Saturday.
In the singles final, Lieb got out to a great start, playing smart, high percentage tennis on his way to a 6-0 set over Brady Flanagan of UConn. In the second set, Flanagan raised his level, playing neck and neck with Lieb before making a move to go up 5-3. A decisive super tiebreaker seemed inevitable, but Lieb never let the set get away from him. He regained the form that earned him such a big lead to begin with, swinging through his groundstrokes, hitting with shape and spin, and moving forward at the right times. With the rest of the team cheering him on from courtside, Lieb won the last four games of the match to take the title 6-0, 7-5.
To get to the final, Lieb had to get through sophomore teammate Zach Fleischman, who had put together a nice run to make the semifinals. The two had a great battle, with the level of play increasing as the match went on. The freshman ended up playing the key points a bit better to come away with a 6-7, 6-4, 10-4 win to advance to the final.
Also competing was sophomore Andrew Finkelman, who took on John Michael Hotlmann of UConn in the A flight singles semifinal. A tight first set went the way of Holtmann, and from there he loosened up and cruised in the second, taking the match 6-4, 6-1. In the final, he would fall in an epic to Lars Schouten of Marist 4-6, 6-4, 22-20.
FROM THE SOURCE
Zach Lieb: "It feels awesome. It wasn't just winning my first college tournament that was tough, winning my first college match was tough too. I had some butterflies in my stomach yesterday and was pretty tight in the first set, but having some of my teammates come support me made a big difference. In the final, if it was juniors I don't know if I would've been able to recover when I was down in the second set, but having my teammates there to support helped me get through."
The Cardinals will head to Middlebury next weekend for the ITA Regional Championships, where the top Division III players in New England will meet for the biggest tournament of the fall season.