LEXINGTON, Va. – Baron tennis' season came to an end in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with a 5-0 loss to North Carolina Wesleyan College. The Battling Bishops, ranked eighth in the South Atlantic Region, established themselves early on in the match as the superior team but Franciscan continued to battle till N.C. Wesleyan won their fifth and final match.
"They were tough and we knew they would be coming in," Franciscan head coach Jeremy Ellis said. "We went down 3-0 in doubles and we knew that was going to be tough but everyone fought hard. We played well."
The two toughest fights of the day came in no. 1 doubles and no.1 singles, carried in large part by senior captain Paul Jarzynka. Jarzynka and doubles partner sophomore Zachary Quiza stormed back from a 5-0 deficit to push the game into a tiebreaker game.
After carrying their momentum into a multiple-point lead, the Bishops made a mini comeback of their own and completed the doubles sweep.
"They fought back and were a point away from winning, which is a great effort," Ellis said.
Jarzynka's passionate play and refusal to let his career finish with a sputter led to another comeback effort.
The senior fell to his opponent in the first set of the no. 1 singles match but his superb play at the net helped him battle back to a 3-1 lead in the second set when a Wesleyan win at no. 2 singles ended the match.
"The only way he could've finished his career better would have been if he was able to pull those both out," Ellis said. "He's not only a great player on the tennis court but a great captain and a great individual."
The program finished its third season as full NCAA members with a second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, adding legitimacy to their historic run in during the 2013 season. Ellis said that plan is to make national qualification a habit for Franciscan Tennis.
"We're going to continue to make a showing here. We want to be one of the teams that the NCAA is used to seeing," Ellis said. "I think two years in a row is great and we're going to go for three."
Helping Ellis's team go for a third tournament trip is the experience his team, made up of freshman and sophomore outside of Jarzynka and fellow senior Luke Merry, has gained with their previous two postseasons.
"I think its huge that they're now familiar with it," Ellis said about the freshman and sophomore on his team who have only experienced season with NCAA berths. "Its only going to make us strong. So having them return and have a few guys coming in, it'll just keep growing."