KALAMAZOO, MI. — The Williams College men's tennis team disptached No. 1 Claremont Mudd Scripps 5-2 Wednesday at the Markin Center on the campus of Kalamazoo College, claiming the first national championship for the program since 2002.
It was the first national championship for a men's program at Williams since the 2002-03 men's basketball team and, coupled with the Williams women winning their sixth straight NCAA title earlier in the day, the first time since 2006 one institution had won both tennis titles in the same year.
"It's amazing to be honest," Ephs' head coach Dan Greenberg said. "The guys feel great, especially the four seniors who put in four years of hard work and never gave up on their dream of winning this thing. They worked so hard and every year got closer and closer and better and better. They told me they wouldn't have wanted it any other way."
Williams finished its season 23-3 while CMS completed its campaign at 30-4. The match was played indoors after day-long rains made the outdoor courts unplayable.
Williams led 2-1 after the doubles play, which was about as tight as you could hope for in a national championship match. Two of the three doubles matches went to a tiebreak, with each team winning one. At three doubles, the Ephs took a 1-0 lead when Brian Astraschan and Bryan Chow snapped a 4-4 tie with three straight points and eventually finished off Alex Lane and Nikolas Marino, 8-5.
At one doubles, the Ephs' duo of Trey Meyer and Alex Schidlovsky edged out ahead 3-1 and 5-3, but the CMS tandem of Joe Dorn and Zhenya Pereverzin rallied back to tie things at five and took a 6-5 lead. Williams battled back to 7-7 and 8-8 before losing a tiebreaker 8-5 and point, 9-8.
That left two doubles and the four players there provided another spinetingler. The Ephs team of Felix Sun and Matt Micheli fell behind Skyler Butts and Neel Kotrappa 5-2, battled back to tie thngs at 5 and then won two points in which they had a chance to lose the point. After winning the 16th point to tie things 8-8, Sun and Micheli took the tiebreaker, 7-4, to give the Ephs a 2-1 lead.
"The doubles was amazing today, just very high quality doubles play in all three matches," Greenberg said. "The win at two in the tiebreaker just gave is a lot of momentum and Matt Micheli rode that wave to give us a spark at singles."
Micheli got the Ephs off on the right foot in singles play, crusing to a 6-2, 6-2 win over Marino at two singles. Sun put Williams on the precipice of the championship when he polished off Alex Lane at three singles, 6-2, 6-3. After his first set win, Sun fell behind 1-0 in the second only to reel of victories in five of the next six games to build a 5-2 lead and went on for the 6-4 win.
Dorn got a point back for the Stags when he won a hard-fought battle over Meyer at one singles. The first set went to a tiebreak after each player won their service games. Dorn took control in the tiebreak, winning it 7-2 to take the set, 7-6. He then broke Meyer in the first game of the second set and went on to a 6-2 win.
But Dorn's win only slowed the inevitable for a few minutes as the buzzsaw that was Bryan Chow delivered the national title for Williams with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Alex Johnson at five singles.
"This is something I dreamed of as a player," Greenberg said. "But to see these guys win it after all their hard work — as their coach it's very, very special. It's less about me and more about these guys and every thing they did to win a national championship. I could not be more proud of them."
Williams College 5, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 2
1. Joe Dorn (CMSM) def. Trey Meyer (WILM) 7-6 (7-2), 6-2
2. Matt Micheli (WILM) def. Nikolas Marino (CMSM) 6-2, 6-2
3. Felix Sun (WILM) def. Alex Lane (CMSM) 6-2, 6-4
4. Skyler Butts (CMSM) vs. Zach Weiss (WILM) 4-6, 6-1, 3-1, unfinished
5. Bryan Chow (WILM) def. Alex Johnson (CMSM) 6-0, 6-0
6. Neel Kotrappa (CMSM) vs. Howie Weiss (WILM) 1-2, unfinished
1. Joe Dorn/Zhenya Pereverzin (CMSM) def. Trey Meyer/Alex Schidlovsky (WILM) 9-8 (7-5)
2. Matt Micheli/Felix Sun (WILM) def. Skyler Butts/Neel Kotrappa (CMSM) 9-8 (7-5)
3. Brian Astraschan/Bryan Chow (WILM) def. Alex Lane/Nikolas Marino (CMSM) 8-5
Williams College 23-3
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (2,3,1,5)
NCAA III Championship - Match moved indoors due to rain.
7-5 tiebreak at 1 doubles. 7-4 tiebreak at 2 doubles. 7-2 tiebreak at 1 singles