Washington University-St. Louis Wins First ITA Division III National Men's Team Indoor Championship
Johns Hopkins is runner up, Trinity (TX) takes third place
Washington University-St. Louis, 2014 ITA Division III National Men's Team Indoor Champions
Wash U.-St. Louis grabbed early advantages at first and second doubles. The No. 3 ranked doubles pairing of Ross Putterman and Jeremy Bush broke for 3-1 and held for 4-1, then held strong for the rest of the match in an 8-5 win to give the Bears the first point of the match.
At third doubles, Blue Jays Nicholas Garcia and Noah Joachim drew first blood by breaking the Bears and never looked back in an 8-5 triumph to tie the team score. It looked as if the Bears would end the doubles with a 2-1 edge, with John Carswell and Max Franklin leading 6-2 on court two. However, Blue Jays Tanner Brown and Erik Lim rattled off six straight games to swing the momentum in favor of Johns Hopkins, who led 2-1 at the conclusion of doubles.
Johns Hopkins gets pumped up before the match
Wash U.-St. Louis head coach Roger Follmer was adamant that the win at first doubles kept them in the match.
"I told them it's only a 2-1 edge and we've played good singles the whole weekend," Follmer said. "It's no different, don't change anything. I think the singles is more of a marathon, and requires less energy of yelling all the time like in the doubles matches. Doubles, that sets it up. They (Jeremy and Ross) got the point we needed. Getting down 3-0 would have made it very difficult to come back."
Bush said he and Putterman have a good connection on the court that dates back to their days at Adlai E. Stevenson High School.
"We're great together," Bush said. "We went to the same high school and played on the same high school team. We knew each other pretty well coming in, so we get along really great. It translates to our game on the court."
Kevin Chu went 3-0 in singles play for Wash U.-St. Louis
With his team trailing 2-1, Bear John Carswell was the first one off the court with a victory in hand, defeating Johns Hopkins' Tanner Brown in straight sets to knot the match at 2-all. Carswell was undefeated in singles this weekend, winning all three matches. Johns Hopkins regained their edge, when Michael Buxbaum defeated Ross Putterman 7-5, 6-1 at first singles. Putterman re-aggravated a groin injury from the previous day, and was unable to keep up with Buxbaum in the second set.
The 3-2 edge was the last Johns Hopkins would have, as Wash U.-St. Louis prevailed in the remaining four singles matches to capture the championship.
Shortly after Buxbaum claimed victory, Bear Tyler Kratky finished off Blue Jay Erik Lim, 6-4, 6-0. Kratky's consistency and court coverage troubled Lim, who's win against Case Western Reserve put Johns Hopkins in the final. On court six, Kevin Chu slid the Bears back into the driver's seat with a tight 6-4, 7-6 (4) win to put Wash U.-St. Louis one win away from the match.
With just third and fourth singles left on court, Johns Hopkins would need both wins to take home the trophy. Blue Jay Jeremy Dubin was halfway there, having rallied to win the second set after being ousted in the first. However, Wash U.-St. Louis' Jeremy Bush broke his opponent at 4-3 in the second set, and with a set in hand, he would serve for the match.
Freshman Jeremy Bush went 6-0 this weekend
The freshman relinquished just one point while serving for the championship, remaining undefeated at the event by winning his sixth and final match, 7-5, 6-3 to earn the Bears their first title.
"It was a great tournament for our team," Bush said. "Every match that we won was really a team effort. It's great that I was able to clinch it, that felt really good. It was the first time I was able to do that. This is my first big college team tournament. I knew if I won the match, I would clinch. I was really motivated, intense and running for every single ball."
Follmer said he's glad to get over the hump at the ITA Division III National Men's Team Indoor Championship.
"It feels great," he said. "We were like the Buffalo Bills, having lost three times in the finals. The fourth time was the charm."
In the third-place match, Trinity (TX) bested Case Western Reserve 7-2 to record its best finish at the event. Like the Bears, the Tigers won five of six singles matches, grabbing the third-place trophy in impressive fashion.
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.