KALAMAZOO, MI. — Dan Greenberg never made it to a national title match as a player at Williams, despite finishing as high as fourth nationally.
Fast forward five years from his graduation and Greenberg has the Ephs back in their first national title match since 2004 — this time as their coach — after a 5-1 Williams dismantling of Washington-St. Louis at Stowe Stadium in the national semifinals Tuesday.
No. 6 Williams, 22-3 and winners of 11 consecutive matches, will face No. 1 Claremont Mudd Scripps (30-3) Wednesday at 4 p.m. for the national championship.
"Being up after doubles makes a big difference," Greenberg said. "But today I was most impressed with our singles play. To go out and win four first sets against a very good singles team, pretty everybody stepped up. CMS is playing very well, so we're going to have to do it again tomorrow."
The Ephs third straight trip to the national semifinals — they finished third in 2012 and fourth in 2011 — proved fruitful as they were able to jump out to a 2-1 lead after doubles thanks to wins at second and third.
Williams actually trailed in the match 1-0 after Adam and Ross Putterman of Washington bounced Trey Meyer and Adam Schidlovsky 8-2 at one doubles. But the second doubles tandem of Matt Micheli and Felix Sun got the Ephs back even with an 8-4 victory at two, and Brian Astraschan and Bryan Chow gave Williams the lead with an 8-6 win at three doubles.
The Ephs came out on fire as singles play began, and soon the riting was on the wall they would be advancing to the national title match. The Ephs won first sets at one (Meyer, 6-2), two (Micheli, 6-4), three (Sun, 6-2) and five (Chow 6-2).
Chow was the first one off the courts as he quickly finished off Gary Parizher, 6-2, 6-2 at five for a 3-1 Williams lead. Micheli jumped out to a 4-0 lead in his second set against Ross Putterman, winning 6-4, 6-2 to put the Ephs up 4-1.
It was Sun at three who would finish off Wash U., falling behind 2-1 in the second set but then reeling off five consecutive games for the 6-2, 6-2 win and a 5-1 Williams win.
"We spent a lot of time working on our singles play as the season progressed," Greenberg said. "We lost to CMS 5-4 because of singles, we lost to Amherst 5-4 because of singles, so we talked a lot about that and worked on it. I think today that worked paid off. "
Three other singles match were still unfinished when the result was reached: Meyer was down 5-2 in the second set at one after his 6-2 first set win; Zach Weiss lost a first set tiebreaker at four, 7-6, and Howie Weiss, after dropping rhe first set at six singles 6-4, roared back to take set two 6-1.
Williams is 3-3 overall in national championship matches, winning titles in 1999. 2001 and 2002 and finishing as the runner-up nationally in 1998, 2003 and 2004. From 1998 through 2004, Williams played in six of seven championship matches.
Williams College vs Washington University
May 21, 2013 at Kalamazoo, Mich.
Williams College 5, Washington University 1
1. Adam Putterman (WASHUM) vs. Trey Meyer (WILM) 2-6, 5-2, unfinished
2. Matt Micheli (WILM) def. Ross Putterman (WASHUM) 6-4, 6-2
3. Felix Sun (WILM) def. Tim Noack (WASHUM) 6-2, 6-2
4. Tyler Kratky (WASHUM) vs. Zach Weiss (WILM) 7-6 (7-5), unfinished
5. Bryan Chow (WILM) def. Gary Parizher (WASHUM) 6-2, 6-2
6. Kareem Farah (WASHUM) vs. Howie Weiss (WILM) 6-4, 1-6, unfinished
1. Adam Putterman/Ross Putterman (WASHUM) def. Trey Meyer/Alex Schidlovsky (WILM) 8-2
2. Matt Micheli/Felix Sun (WILM) def. Josh Cogan/Kareem Farah (WASHUM) 8-4
3. Brian Astraschan/Bryan Chow (WILM) def. Jeffrey Hirsh/Gary Parizher (WASHUM) 8-6
Williams College 22-3
Washington University 20-6
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (5,2,3)
NCAA III Championships Semifinal
Williams advances to NCAA III Men's Tennis Final