La Cava Opens at Tennis Nationals With "Break-Fest" Victory

News Release Date:
Wednesday, May 23

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- In what evolved into a Thursday morning "break-fest," Whitman College sophomore Andrew La Cava registered four service breaks in each set to shoot past DePauw's Sam Miles 7-5, 6-3 in the opening round of the NCAA Division III National Singles Championships in Cary, N.C.

La Cava, the Northwest Conference Player of the Year, advances to a 10 a.m. (PDT) second-round match top-seeded Dillon Pottish, a senior at Emory, which captured the national team title earlier this week.

Andrew La Cava

La Cava's victory marked Whitman's first triumph at the national singles tournament since the mid-1980s, when current Whitman coach Jeff Northam was still in his playing days.

"To say this tournament is tough is a huge understatement," Northam said. "Only the top 32 players in Division III are invited, so every match is tough."

La Cava and Miles traded service breaks early in the first set, leaving Miles with a 3-2 advantage, but La Cava held and broke to vault in front 4-3.

After again swapping breaks with Miles, La Cava found himself serving for the first set at 5-4. The DePauw sophomore wasn't quite done, however, breaking back to square the set at 5-5.

La Cava retained the upper hand with his fourth service break and then held serve to take the opening set 7-5.

La Cava rode that momentum to a 2-0 start to the second set, but Miles bounced back to even the score at 2-2.

Two more breaks sandwiched around a hold put La Cava back in charge at 5-2.

With La Cava serving for the match, Miles managed one more break of his own, drawing within 5-3. That's when La Cava collected his eighth service break to write a fitting finish to the back-and-forth battle.

La Cava is the first Whitman player to earn a spot in the 32-player national singles championship since Matt Solomom competed in the 2010 national tournament.

La Cava led Whitman to a 21-5 season this spring as the team rose to as high as No. 8 in the national rankings (No. 1 in the West Region).

Miles played No. 1 singles for DePauw, which was No. 22 in the most recent national rankings. Miles was voted first-team honors in the North Coast Atlantic Conference.

In his first-round match this morning, Pottish beat Skidmore's Oliver Loutsenko.

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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; holden@whitman.edu