Wesleyan's International Roster Eliminates Whit Men's Tennis
News Release Date:
Saturday, May 12
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- North Carolina Wesleyan's international roster picked off two of three matches in doubles and maintained its momentum in singles to post a 5-1 victory over Whitman College in Saturday's second round of the men's NCAA Division III National Championships.
Playing in a five-team regional tournament in Atlanta, Ga., Whitman lost for the first time this season to an NCAA DIII opponent, ending an otherwise superlative spring campaign with a 21-5 record.
NC Wesleyan improved to 17-2 and advances to play tournament host Emory University (21-0) in Sunday's regional final. Emory stayed undefeated on the season with a 5-0 Saturday victory over Washington & Lee.
Whitman got off to a good start against the Battling Bishops, notching the day's first team point when junior Jeff Tolman and sophomore Andrew La Cava rolled to a speedy 8-3 victory over Rinat Khussainov (Kazakhstan) and Peter Hviid (Sweden) at No. 2 doubles.
But the tide started to shift when Alexey Rumyantsev (Russia) and Robert Kjellberg (Sweden) pulled away from a 4-4 tie at No. 1 doubles, beating Whitman senior Conor Holton-Burke and junior Matt Tesmond by an 8-4 count.
NC Wesleyan made it 2-1 when Fred Lemongo (Cameroon) and Marcelo Prato (Brazil) turned a 3-3 deadlock at No. 3 doubles into an 8-5 victory over Whitman junior Sam Sadeghi and freshman James Rivers.
After Kjellberg extended the NC Wesleyan lead in the team scoring to 3-1 with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Tolman at No. 2 singles, Lemongo moved the Battling Bishops to the verge of victory with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Sadeghi at No. 5.
Artsiom Prostak (Belarus) then provided the clincher at No. 6 singles, squeaking past Whitman senior Adriel Borshansky 6-4, 6-4. It was just the second singles loss of the season for Borshansky, who finished with a 19-2 record while winning at least two matches in five of the six spots on the singles ladder.
Once NC Wesleyan clinched the team victory, three singles matches still in progress were left unfinished.
At No. 3 singles, Holton-Burke was fighting to push his match to a third set, but was trailing Rumyantsev 6-3, 6-5.
Rivers and Viktor Selander (Sweden) were all even at 2-2 in their third set at No. 4. Rivers lost the first set 6-1 but won the second 6-3.
In the featured match at No. 1 singles, La Cava downed Khussainov 6-2 in their first set, dropped the second 7-5 and was trailing 3-0 in the third.
Season highlights for Whitman included a 19-match winning streak and a fifth straight Northwest Conference title.
Whitman also completed its sixth consecutive undefeated NWC regular season, captured its sixth national tournament berth in as many years, and rose to as high at No. 8 in the national rankings and No. 1 in the regional rankings.
La Cava's sophomore season will continue later this month when he competes in the NCAA DIII National Singles Championships. He is one of 32 players from around the country invited to compete in that tournament.
Holton-Burke and Tesmond are the West Region's first alternates for the 32-spot National Doubles Championships.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; firstname.lastname@example.org