CLAREMONT, CA — The Williams College men's tennis team faced off against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on the campus of Claremont-McKenna College on Thursday evening in a rematch of last year's Division III National Championship with the Stags coming out on top this time by a margin of 8-1, handing the Ephs their first loss of the season.
With the win CMS improved to 15-1 on the year and the Ephs fell to 4-1. The loss ended a 16-match win streak dating back to the middle of last season and included the 20-13 NCAA title.
The Stags got off to the perfect start, sweeping all three of the doubles matches. The junior combination of Warren Wood and Joe Dorn for the Stags were too much for senior Matt Micheli and sophomore Alexander Schidlovsky, rolling over them 8-0 at the one position. The Eph pairing of freshman Conrad Harron and sophomore Brian Astrachan faired only slightly better at the number two position against sophomore Skyler Butts and senior Neel Kotrappa, losing 8-3. The Ephs would not go down without a fight in doubles, but the team of sophomore Jose Raventos and freshman Rohan Shastri could not quite overcome senior Zhenya Pereverzin and freshman Daniel Morkovine at number three doubles, falling 8-5.
The Stags took their commanding lead into the singles portion that required them only to win two of the six matches to clinch the match. The Ephs seemed to have overcome the disappointing doubles result, as Micheli was first off the court, playing at the one position, defeating Wood 6-4, 6-4 and giving the Ephs their first and what would be their only point of the match. Harron was next off the court but was brushed aside by the strong performance of Butts, losing 6-0, 6-3.
Now forced to win all of the remaining matches on-court to win the dual, the Ephs buckled down and didn't give up. After losing all three of their first sets, senior Howard Weiss, Schidlovsky, and Raventos all fought back to win their second sets and push their matches to decisive sets at the two, four, and five positions respectively. However, the Stags did not allow these second-set setbacks to demoralize them. Both Morkovine and Pereverzin, against Schidlovsky and Raventos respectively, came back stronger than ever in their final sets, slamming their respective doors 6-1 and 6-2, clinching the match for the Stags.
With the match out of reach for the Ephs, Dorn and Weiss played a 10-point match-tiebreaker in lieu of a full third set, in which Dorn proved too much for Weiss, outlasting him 10-7. Finally, at the six position, Astrachan and sophomore Lestter Yeh played a marathon first set, lasting by far the longest of any of the six courts, which Yeh managed to pull out 7-5, before cruising to a 6-1 second set, polishing off the match for the Stags.
After the match, Eph head coach Dan Greenberg commented on his team's unwillingness to give up on the match: "We can't afford to give the best teams such a cushion. It's tough to dig out of that kind of deficit; although, I was glad we made singles somewhat of a match, pushing multiple matches to third sets. Hopefully, we can learn a lot from this, especially that we can't start playing scared in big matches."
The Ephs have a quick turn-around and will face Redlands tomorrow at 5 PM EDT.
Williams 1, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 8
1. Micheli, Matt (WILLIAMS) def. Wood, Warren (C-M-S) 6-4, 6-4
2. Dorn, Joe (C-M-S) def. Weiss, Howard (WILLIAMS) 7-5, 6-7(2), 10-7
3. Butts, Skyler (C-M-S) def. Harron, Conrad (WILLIAMS) 6-0, 6-3
4. Morkovine, Daniel (C-M-S) def. Schidlovsky, Alexander (WILLIAMS) 6-1, 3-6, 6-1
5. Pereverzin, Zhenya (C-M-S) def. Raventos, Jose (WILLIAMS) 6-1, 1-6, 6-2
6. Yeh, Lestter (C-M-S) def. Astrachan, Brain (WILLIAMS) 7-5, 6-1
1.Wood, Warren/Dorn, Joe (C-M-S) def. Micheli, Matt/Schidlovsky, Alexander (WILLIAMS) 8-0
2.Butts, Skyler/Kotrappa, Neel (C-M-S) def. Harron, Conrad/Astrachan, Brian (WILLIAMS) 8-3
3. Morkovine, Daniel/Pereverzin, Zhenya (C-M-S) def. Raventos, Jose/Shastri, Rohan (WILLIAMS) 8-5