CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - For the seventh time in school history, the Coe College men's tennis team won the Iowa Conference Championship on Saturday. The Kohawks beat Dubuque 5-1 in the semifinals before beating league rival Luther 5-4 in the finals.
In the semifinals, Coe took a 2-1 lead after doubles play against the Spartans. Freshman Noah Sprinkel (Minneapolis, Minn./South) and sophomore Sean Stokstad (Ramstein, Germany/Ramstein) beat Nicholas Garcia and Andrew Sheedy 9-8 (10-5). At number three doubles, senior Victor Khristenko (Orel, Russia) and junior Curtis Newman (Ankeny, Iowa/Ankeny) beat Nikolay Gospodinov and Shawn Iben 8-1.
Coe earned three singles wins, as Stokstad beat Demetrius Johnson 6-3, 6-0 at number three singles. At number five, Newman beat Gospodinov 6-0, 6-0 while senior Jonathan Roger (Minneapolis, Minn./St. Anthony Village) beat Michael Braden 6-1, 6-0.
The doubles score was reversed against top-seeded Luther in the finals, as Khristenko and Newman beat Aaron Gendron and Tyler Zinnecker 8-4 at number three for Coe's only doubles victory.
Coe earned three singles wins to tie the match 4-4 with one singles match remaining. Sophomore Jeff Damisch (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Kennedy) beat Gendron 6-4, 6-2 at number three singles while Newman beat Matt Bellio 6-0, 7-5 at number five singles. Roger was then a 6-0, 6-2 winner over James Ayer. Khristenko won the match at number two singles, as he beat Ramesh Karki 6-7 (1-7), 6-1, 6-4.
The league title was the first since 2006 for the Kohawks, as they join the women's tennis team as league champions and automatic qualifiers into the NCAA Tournament next weekend. Coe will find out its destination on Monday night.