Trinity (TX) and Emory to Play for 2015 ITA Division III National Men's Team Indoor Championship Crown
Tigers reach the final for the first time in program history
Draw | Event Page | Complete Results
ST. PETER, Minn. (Feb. 21) - Day two of the 2015 ITA Division III National Men's Team Indoor Championship, hosted by Gustavus Adolphus College, produced a pair of 6-3 results in the semifinal round of play. Top seed Trinity (TX) appeared to be on the ropes against four seed Johns Hopkins, but toughed out the victory, while third-seeded Emory swept through the doubles and took the first two singles matches completed to seal its spot in the championship match.
(1) Trinity (TX) 6, (4) Johns Hopkins 3
The Tigers came out strong to begin doubles action, with each of their three duos going up at least one break early on. Trinity's top duo of Aaron Skinner and Jordan Mayer, the No. 1 ranked doubles team in the ITA Division III National Men's Doubles Rankings, delivered a quick 8-1 win for the first point of the match. Clayton Ness and Adam Krull followed closely behind, winning 8-4 at the second position. At the third spot, Charlie Curtis and Chas Mayer looked like they were going to provide Trinity with a clean sweep of the doubles, holding a 5-2 lead and serving for the match at 7-6. However, the match would eventually go into a tiebreak, where Johns Hopkins tandem of Nicholas Garcia and Noah Joachim prevailed seven points to two.
"When things get close like that, your mind does start to wander, but you could do that in so many matches," explained Trinity head coach Russell McMindes when asked if he thought letting the match at the third doubles spot slip away could have ended up being costly. "I have to give credit to Johns Hopkins for playing well in the pressure moments on that court."
Skinner and Mayer each came through with straight-forward victories in singles, while the Blue Jays' Mike Buxbaum got past Krull 7-5, 6-4 to make the overall score 4-2 in favor of the Tigers. Neiss seemed to be well on his way to coming through with the clinching point, racing out to a 5-2 first set lead, but Joachim reeled off five consecutive games to take the set 7-5. The second set stayed even early, but Joachim pulled away late for the 7-5, 6-3 win.
The final two singles matches went the distance, with Johns Hopkins winning the opening set in both. In what would eventually become the clinching match, Erik Lim and Charlie Curtis broke each other three times in the second set before Curtis pulled away in the tiebreak. Lim, who had been dictating the majority of the points from the baseline, was misfiring off of both wings, and failed to consistently produce winners in the third set. Curtis remained solid and allowed Lim to hit himself out of the match, resulting in a 6-2 third set triumph that propelled Trinity to the finals.
"The tension was really starting to mount toward the end of the match, and there were so many momentum shifts," stated McMindes. "I was really proud of our No. 6 (Chas Mayer) for keeping his match on court for so long. And Charlie (Curtis) is a senior, so he has been in that position so many times before. I think this win really provides us with some validity and instills belief throughout our team. This was a real character win for us tonight."
(3) Emory 6, (2) Washington-St. Louis 3
For a match that at one point stood at 6-0 in favor of Emory overall, there were a number of twists and turns throughout that made the clash between the Eagles and Bears impossible to predict.
Emory wasted little time grasping control of all three doubles courts. Rafe Mosetick and David Omsky were first to finish, coming through with an 8-3 win at the third spot. Washington-St. Louis dug in on the other two courts, but it wasn't enough to prevent the sweep. Ian Wagner and Alex Ruderman won 8-4 at the first position, while Scott Rubinstein and Eric Halpern also managed an 8-4 triumph at number two doubles.
"Doubles is always hard to predict with it being a pro set, but I thought it was critical for us to come out with a lot of energy and get off to quick starts," said Emory head coach John Browning. "With this format there really are no guarantees, even when you are up 3-0 after doubles."
The Bears rebounded nicely, taking the first set in all three singles matches on court, turning the tide in their favor for the first time. Each of the three matchups delivered numerous momentum shifts, and the Eagles managed to push all three into a decisive set. The first to be completed was the match at the second spot, as Halpern put behind him the disappointment of losing the first set after serving for it twice to win the second 6-3 against Ross Putterman. Halpern would earn the initial break of the set for a 4-3 lead, but was broken back in the next game after leading 40-0. The Emory senior would earn another break, this time coming with a chance to serve out the match, which he did so successfully.
As Halpern closed out his win, Ruderman and Mosetick were battling to try to come through with the clinching point at first and third singles respectively. As Mosetick fell behind Jeremy Bush 5-2 in his third set and Ruderman won three straight games for a break advantage at 4-3, it appeared Ruderman would get the honors. However, Mosetick took advantage of Bush beginning to struggle physically with cramps, rattling off the last five game of the match with a mix of tremendous defense and attacking net play.
"The veterans we have at the top of the singles lineup have been through it all. Wash U continued to play hard and never gave up, but our guys really showed a lot of heart. Rafe was down 5-2 in the third set and never flinched, and Ruderman and Halpern have been playing those kinds of matches for four year now."
Consolation play also wrapped up on Saturday at the Swanson Tennis Center. In the morning matches, Case Western Reserve defeated host Gustavus Adolphus 5-4 and Kenyon recorded a 6-3 victory over Carnegie Mellon. In the night session, Carnegie Mellon handed Gustavus its second 5-4 loss of the day to claim 7th place, and Kenyon outlasted Case Western Reserve 5-4 in a match that finished well after 3am local time.
For complete coverage of the 2015 ITA Division III National Men's Team Indoor Championship, including links to live scores, photos and more, please visit the official ITA event page. Follow the ITA on Twitter, @ITAtennis, and like the ITA on Facebook for updates and news from the weekend's events. Use the hashtag #D3Indoors for all tweets in regards to the event, or search the term "D3Indoors" to find others who are tweeting from across the nation about this year's Championship, Feb. 20-22.
About the ITA Division III National Men's Team Indoor Championship
The ITA Division III National Men's Team Indoor Championship is held annually each February. The men's event began in 2001 and will be held for the 15th time in 2015. The event features eight participating teams and is held over three days, beginning on Friday with the quarterfinals, followed by semifinals on Saturday and the final on Sunday. Four different schools have hosted the event, while Emory (5), Gustavus Adolphus (4), UC Santa Cruz (3), Kenyon (1), and most recently Washington-St. Louis (1) are past champions.