Whit Men's Tennis Empties Tank for Second Sunday Triumph
News Release Date:
Sunday, March 18
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Winning for the eighth time in nine days, and for the second time on Sunday against a nationally-ranked foe, the Whitman College men's tennis team emptied its tank with a gutty 5-3 victory over Connecticut's Trinity College Sunday night in Whittier, Calif.
Whitman, No. 8 in NCAA Division III, got the early jump on No. 19 Trinity by winning two of three matches in doubles.
After the Bantams won the first two decisions in singles to vault into a 3-2 lead, Whitman senior Adriel Borshansky finished a 6-2, 6-0 win over Daniel Carpenter at No. 6 to even the team scoring at 3-3.
"I'm not sure how Adriel does it, but he always brings his top game when the team needs it," Whitman coach Jeff Northan said.
The next match to finish came at No. 3, where senior Conor Holton-Burke made it 4-3 Whitman with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 victory over Jugal Marfatia.
Freshman James Rivers racked up the clinching fifth team point with a dramatic 6-2, 7-5 triumph over Charles McConnell at No. 4. After winning the first set, Rivers was down 5-3 in the second with McConnell serving.
That's when Rivers "elevated his game and reeled off four straight games" to take his match and lift Whitman to the overall team victory.
With the team result settled, the No. 5 singles match was left unfinished with junior Sam Sadeghi leading 2-6, 6-2, 2-0 against Ned Mandel.
In the opening round of doubles, which Northam described as "nip and tuck all the way," Holton-Burke and junior Matt Tesmond posted a 9-8 victory at No. 1, edging Anson McCook and Mandel. Holton-Burke and Tesmond went through five match points before nailing down the victory, but they also negated one match that McCook and Mandel earned.
Junior Jeff Tolman and sophomore Andrew La Cava came up a game short at No. 2 doubles, losing 9-8 to Carpenter and McConnell. The Whitman duo was up a break earlier in the match, and it led 4-2 in the tie-breaker before the victory slipped away.
Sadeghi and Rivers were decisive winners at No. 3 doubles, pinning an 8-4 loss on Musyoka Mbithi and Ilya Levin.
McCook, a Trinity senior, downed La Cava 6-1, 6-4 at No. 1 singles, and Kayong Lee bested Tolman 6-4, 6-1 at No. 2.
Both Whitman and Trinity are in southern California as part of Spring Break trips. Whitman holds a No. 1 West Region ranking while Trinity is No. 5 in the Northeast.
Earlier in the day, Whitman posted an 8-1 victory over No. 17 Whittier in a match that featured several three-set battles in singles. The match, which was delayed by a day because of Saturday rain storms, took more than four hours to complete.
After a short rest, Whitman returned to the courts against Trinity.
The Trinity victory extended Whitman's winning streak to 15 matches, the last eight of which have come on the road.
"Today was an absolutely epic performance from the Whitties," Northan said. "I've been coaching many years and today has to rank as one of my favorite coaching days.
"It was cerrtainly a tall order -- playing two Top 20 teams back to back -- but I have great faith in this team and the conditioning we have put in this season. It was simply amazing. The Whitties battled for ten straight hours against two top teams."
Whitman, 15-3 on the season and 8-0 in the Northwest Conference, takes a well deserved break next week before resuming conference play. It is seeking its fifth straight NWC title.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; firstname.lastname@example.org