Holton-Burke, Tesmond Take Doubles Title

News Release Date:
Monday, September 26

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Whitman College teammates Andrew La Cava and Conor Holton-Burke staged quite a show on their home court in Monday afternoon's singles final of the USTA / ITA Pacifc Northwest Fall Tennis Championships.

After La Cava rallied to outlast Holton-Burke in a third-set tie-breaker, most fans figured that tonight's doubles final might be a bit anti-climactic.

If that's what they thought, they were dead wrong.

Conor Holton-Burke
Matt Tesmond

It took two hours for the doubles dust to settle, but Holton-Burke and doubles partner Matt Tesmond finally donned the doubles crown with a 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (12-10) victory over La Cava and his partner, Jeff Tolman.

The third set in particular was a sight to behold as neither side was able to break serve on the other, although they certainly gave it the good ol' college try.

With the third set even at two games apiece, Holton-Burke held serve on a game that needed two dozen points to decide.

Later in the third, with Holton-Burke and Tesmond leading 6-5, La Cava found a way to hold serve as he and Tolman staved off a match point to get the game back to deuce.

A few points later, La Cava reached into his bag of tricks for a semi-miraculous return to even the set at 6-6 and send the match to a first-to-seven tie-breaker.

While La Cava's match-extending return was a thing of beauty, it seemed to set the standard for a tie-breaker that featured more than just a few eye-popping returns.

Jeff Tolman
Andrew La Cava

After Tolman and La Cava jumped in front 4-3 in the breaker, Tesmond and Holton-Burke responded with three straight points to earn another match point at 6-4.

But the pendulum continued to swing and Tolman's stellar return made it 6-all. From there, the two sides swapped four more match points as the score deadlocked on points seven, eight, nine and 10.

The tie at ten proved to be last, however, as Holton-Burke and Tesmond strung together the next two points to claim the trophy.

"The level of play in tonight's match was phenomenal," Whitman tennis coach and tournament director Jeff Northam said. "The returns the guys were hitting, especially in the tie-breaker, were truly amazing.

"I'm so proud of the way our guys competed and conducted themselves today as we finished the tournament."

The tournament started on Saturday and attracted players from all nine Northwest Conference schools. By the time play ended on Sunday, however, Whitman's powerhouse roster had cornered the market on Monday's championship matches.

While not complaining about having his own players on both sides of the net in Monday's matches, Northam said the circumstance has its drawbacks.

"All of our guys played so well today, starting with the singles semifinals this morning and continuing through the championship matches," he said.

"When they play that well and work that hard, it's hard to see any of them lose. It almost overshadows the joy of seeing our guys win when it's their own teammates they are beating."

By winning the tournament's singles and doubles titles, La Cava, Holton-Burke and Tesmond advance to play in next month's National Small College Championships in Mobile, Ala.

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