MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – Penn State Harrisburg's 7-2 win over North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) foe Penn State Berks on Saturday, Apr. 28 clinched the Lions their second straight North Atlantic Conference (NAC) West Division championship. The blue and white didn't celebrate their victory. Instead, they went back to work the next day in the division's individual tournament. The Lions were strong again and their great showing earned all-conference honors for all six of the young men taking part in the championship tourney. Making the outing even sweeter was the fact that Josh Cartmill (Carlisle, PA/Cumberland Valley) was named NEAC Player of the Year, Vishnu Gopalakrishnan (Ashburn, VA/Briar Woods) earned Co-Rookie of the Year status and Head Coach Becky Cecere was voted the league's Coach of the Year by her peers.
Cartmill won both his semifinal match (6-0, 6-0) and his championship match (6-1, 6-2) to secure the division's number one singles' title. The junior's stout showing earned him first-team all-conference honors and the title of top player of the year as well. Sophomore Vinnie Lepore (Chepachet, RI/Ponaganset) joined his teammate as a first-team selection thanks to his capturing the number three singles' title with a 6-1, 6-2 semifinal win and a 6-1, 6-3 championship victory.
Lions' mumber five man Tyler Loy (Annville, PA/Annville-Cleona) and the number six player in Gopalakrishnan also earned first-team all-conference selections thanks to their championship wins. Loy won his semifinal matchup 6-3, 6-0 before capturing his singles' title in a hard-fought three-set contest 7-6, 4-6, 6-4. Gopalakrishnan made quick work of his opposition in the six slot, winning his semis match 6-1, 6-1 and the title showdown 6-3, 6-3.
Evgeny Matigullin (New Bloomfield, PA/Susquenita) was selected to the NEAC's all-conference second-team thanks to a solid effort in the number two singles' bracket. The junior won his semifinal contest 6-1, 6-1 before falling in the tightly contested championship match 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.
Loy and partner Zachry Warriner (Montrose, PA/Montrose) earned more first-team all-conference accolades for their performance in number three doubles competition. The pair captured the title in that particular bracket with an 8-3 decision.
The blue and white's other duos in Cartmill/Matigullin and Lepore/Gopalakrishnan were both named to the NEAC's all-conference second team. Cartmill and Matigullin, the Lions' number one doubles team, won their semifinal match 8-1 before falling in the closely fought title round 8-6. The number two pair in Lepore and Gopalakrishnan took care of business in the semis, winning 8-3 before dropping an 8-2 decision in the championship match.
After leading her team to two straight division championships and an NAC tournament title last season, Cecere earned the well-deserved honor of Coach of the Year as voted by the coaches of the NEAC's West Division.
Penn State Harrisburg will have a chance to clinch its second straight NAC championship when the squad heads to Latham, NY on Saturday, May 5 for the conference's 2012 tournament final. The Lions will take on Colby-Sawyer, the champs of the league's East Division.