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Bethlehem knocks off defending champion Niskayuna

There is an old saying that states, to be the man you've got to beat the man.

Until last week, Niskayuna's tennis team was "the man." But not anymore. After last Wednesday's 7-2 victory over the Silver Warriors, Bethlehem has taken over that status.

The takeover was highlighted by two matches; one, a three set battle between Mike Amico and Brian Chow. The other, a three set clash between Peter Collins and Christopher Frost.

Going into this match with Chow, Amico had never won. He had come close, but he had never been able to close. Through the first five games, it seemed like Chow had his number again. Amico seemed to be psyching himself out, as he yelled to himself whenever he made a mistake. But then, something clicked as Amico came storming back, ending the set with a scorcher down the line for a 7-6 win.

Unfortunately for Amico, history repeated itself. Although he put up a good fight, Amico could not hold off Chow who won the next two sets 6-4 and 6-2.

On court No. 2, Collins got an easy first set victory at 6-2, and he was up on Frost 5-0 in the second set. The match was over, or was it? In a reversal of fortune, Frost came all the way back to take the set 7-6, which left Collins visibly shaken. As he attempted to regroup, Collins got a reassuring word from coach Steve Smith.

"That's what he told me before the third set; just keep my head up and play my game. And sure enough, it came through," said Collins.

Once again, Collins got up early, winning the first three games. Frost came back and made a match out of it, at one point bring the score to 5-4. But as Collins got his serve with a chance to win, he muttered something to himself that was barely audible. "Let's finish this," he said. So he did, taking the third set 6-4.

By the time Amico and Collins' third sets began, Bethlehem already had the win. Led by captain Jesse Hoffmam winning his singles match in straight sets, the Eagles took six of the seven remaining games to win the match.

"It's huge," said Smith. "We've now beat Shen, Guilderland and Niskayuna. Those were the only loses we had last year. We're 7-0, and now we just start focusing on the Sectionals." ""

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