Host Case Western Reserve Lands Big Upset at 2014 ITA Division III Men's Team Indoor Championship
Johns Hopkins knocks off five-time champion Emory
CLEVELAND, OH (Feb. 21) - Day one at the 2014 ITA Division III Men's Team Indoor Championship, presented by Dickenson Group, LLC was highlighted by the host school, Case Western Reserve, pulling off an upset of second-seeded defending champion Kenyon in the first round. Johns Hopkins also knocked off third-seeded Emory, the winner of five ITA Division III Men's Team Indoor Championships, which is the most in the event's history.
Here's a match-by-match breakdown of the first-round action:
John Carswell rallied to win his singles match
#1 Washington University-St. Louis 8, #8 Redlands 1
The Bears ended a three-match losing streak against the Bulldogs, registering a decisive 8-1 victory on Friday. Wash U.-St. Louis got the edge in doubles play, rallying at first doubles to claim two of three doubles points and the 2-1 edge. The Bears kept the pedal to the metal in singles, winning at third, second and first singles, respectively to clinch the match en route to an 8-1 victory.
At second singles, Bear John Carswell lost convincingly in the first set, but battled back in a 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 win to put the Bears up 4-1 in the team match. Teammate Ross Putterman followed him off the court with a match-clinching win at first singles in three tight sets, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.
Wash U.-St. Louis head coach Roger Follmer said how impressed he was with the play of Putterman. "Ross clinched the match. If you're going to give a game ball, it'd have to go to him. He went 2-0 and won the deciding match. I've seen Patrick (Lipscomb) play before, and Ross winning that match at one is huge."
#7 Case Western Reserve 5, #2 Kenyon 4
Case Western Reserve avenged its loss from the second round of the 2013 NCAA Championship, defeating No. 5 Kenyon 5-4 to advance to the semifinals in their first appearance at the ITA Division III National Men's Team Indoor Championship.
The Spartans triumphed in two of three doubles matches and sophomore Christopher Krimbill won at first singles to give Case Western Reserve an early 3-1 edge. However, it was Kenyon winning on courts two and three to even the match at 3-all with three matches left to play.
Spartan James Fojtasek battled back from 5-2 deficits in both sets of his fourth singles match to garner a hard-fought 7-5, 7-5 win to put doubles partner Derek Reinbold in clinching position at fifth singles. Reinbold delivered a 6-2, 7-6 (2) win, rattling off four straight points from 3-2 in the tiebreak to clinch the upset for the Spartans.
Derek Reinbold yells out to the crowd
Reinbold said it was a big goal for the team after last season's loss to the Lords.
"We've lost to Kenyon every time since I've been here," Reinbold said. "This is a program first. It (beating Kenyon) was one of our main team goals coming in because at the end of last season, we lost to them in the second round of NCAAs. It took nearly six hours. We just wanted to come out, bring a lot of energy and get the job done this time."
Case Western Reserve head coach Todd Wojtkowski said the win hadn't quite settled in yet. "This is the first time we've ever been in this tournament, but in the end it just felt like we were playing Kenyon. It really feels like we got a benchmark, program-advancing win."
Wojtkowski went on to say things were much different just a few years ago.
"I really think that our confidence started a couple years ago. I've been here for six years, and when I first started here, Kenyon would sit their first three singles players and still beat us 7-2. They finally started playing their full lineup against us a couple years ago and we got a point or two. The next time we got another point, then the next time it was 5-4. I think getting this win shows that we're doing the right things and we're getting people better and we're advancing our program. It really is a self-fulfilling win to show them that their hard work is paying off."
#6 Johns Hopkins 6, #3 Emory 3
Johns Hopkins bested Emory, the most decorated team in ITA Division III Men's Team Indoor Championship history, 6-3, in the longest match of the day. The win was the first for the Blue Jays in five career meetings with the Eagles.
Jeremy Dubin used his big serve to take control of his singles match
Johns Hopkins raced out to leads in all three doubles matches, and was able to hold on in each bout for a 3-0 lead. The Blue Jays then grabbed the first set in first, second and third singles, looking like they might run away with the win. After a win at second singles, Johns Hopkins' Ben Hwang served for the team win at 5-3, but was broken by Emory's Eric Halpern who won four straight games to win the second set and eventually the match. Paired with a win at first singles, the Eagles worked their way back to 4-2.
Freshman Jeremy Dubin halted the comeback effort with a three-set win at fourth singles to clinch the team win for Johns Hopkins, earning the Blue Jays a spot in the semifinals for the first time in four appearances.
Johns Hopkins head coach Chuck Willenborg said he's proud of his guys for staying focused after the early lead.
"You tell the kids not to get too up or down," Willenborg said "There are matches where we've been down 3-0, sometimes it carries over into singles negatively. I told them to try and keep the same composure. I told them not to worry about the score and just play the match."
The win however, does not come as a surprise to Willenborg. "We expected to be here. We knew it was going to be a tough match, but with the way the team was practicing leading up, I felt pretty good about our chances against anybody."
Johns Hopkins matches up with host Case Western Reserve in the first semifinal on Saturday.
#5 Trinity (TX) 7, #4 Cal Lutheran 2
The Trinity Tigers booked their second straight appearance in the semifinals with a 7-2 win over Cal Lutheran on Friday. Though the Tigers were edged at first doubles in a tiebreak, they were able to take a 2-1 lead into singles play.
Trinity grabbed a big 4-1 lead on wins by Paxton Deuel and Greg Haugen at first and third singles, respectively, while second singles player Aaron Skinner was locked in a long battle with Kingsmen Alex Nichols. Both Deuel, winner of the USTA/ITA Southwest Regional Singles Championship and Haugen captured one-set leads before Skinner had completed three games.
While Skinner continued to battle, Tiger Chas Mayer was able to clinch the team win with a 6-1, 6-0 win at fifth singles.
Trinity head coach Russell McMindes said getting the first win at such a big tournament can be the hardest of all.
"Anytime you can get past that first match, it's great," he said. "That first match always brings a lot of tension and anxiety because all the teams are good, so getting past that first one allows you to breathe a sigh of relief, gives your team a lot of confidence and makes for a much more exciting weekend. We're just excited to be at that stage and give ourselves a chance to play these upper-echelon teams and prove what we're capable of."
With the win, Trinity sets a semifinal showdown with top-seeded Wash U.-St. Louis.
Both consolation matches will begin at 8am tomorrow, with main draw matches to follow at 11am and 2pm. Case Western Reserve and Johns Hopkins will play in the first semifinal at 11am, with Wash U.-St. Louis vs. Trinity (TX) to follow. The final consolation matches are slated to begin at 5pm tomorrow.
About the ITA Division III National Men's Team Indoor Championships
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 14th time in 2014. 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) and most recently Kenyon (1) are past champions.