York Lions bring home Ontario University Athletics tennis gold

The York University Lions men’s tennis team defeated the University of Waterloo Warriors 4-2 on Sunday to claim the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) men’s tennis championship. It was the eighth time York has captured the men’s tennis OUA banner.

Above: The York Lions men’s tennis team and new OUA tennis champions. Photo by Al Fournier.

The Lions came into the game seeded in first place after a 5-1 record in the regular season and lived up to that billing, capturing their third title in five years.

They started off their games at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Campus Tennis Centre with the doubles matches. The men gave it their all, and pulled out a close 2-1 victory, earning them the first point of the day. The pairings of Mikhail Lew and Ahmed Shebl, and Anthony Rakic and Stan Faynberg, both won their doubles matches by scores of 8-5 while Jason Xue and Tomo Ono were defeated 8-3.

The first four singles matches were split evenly, 2-2, with Lew and Robert Weese winning. The men needed one more point to take home the gold and it all came down to Shebl against Waterloo’s Milos Agatonovic. Shebl won the match in three sets, 4-6, 6-1 and 6-3, giving York their final point and the OUA title.

“The players on both teams played extremely well today,” said York head coach Michael Mitchell. “We knew going into the match that Waterloo was a tough opponent but we managed to come out with the win. Our entire team worked hard for this victory.”

The women’s team also played on Sunday, vying for the bronze medal. The women were in third place coming into the tournament, and after a close loss on Saturday, were slated to play against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues for the bronze. The women handily beat the Varsity Blues in doubles play, winning all three matches and taking the first point.

The singles matches were played with just as much heart, and it stayed close throughout all the matches. Wins by Stephanie Willerding and Paloma Jimenez brought York within reach, but Toronto had other plans. The women did their best, but unfortunately, the Varsity Blues went home with the bronze medal.

Submitted to YFile by Nicolas DesRoches, sport information assistant