Top-seeded UC-Santa Cruz to Play No. 3 Washington University in ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship Finals

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Top-seeded UC-Santa Cruz to Play No. 3 Washington University in
ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship Finals

ST. PETER, MINN. – The finals have been set for the eight teams competing in the 2010 ITA National Division III Men's Team Indoor Championship hosted by Gustavus Adolphus College. After all four of the top seeds advanced with quarterfinal victories, top-seeded UC-Santa Cruz and Washington University avenged upset losses from last year’ event to advance to tomorrow’s finals. In what will be a matchup of 2008 NCAA Division III Champion, Washington versus 2009 NCAA Division III Champion, UC-Santa Cruz, both teams showed plenty of grit, grinding out 5-4 victories over Emory University and Kenyon College, respectively.

Gustavus Adolphus is hosting the 10th-annual championships for the eighth consecutive year at the Swanson Tennis Center on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota.

ITA Division III National Men’s Team Indoor Championships: First Round
#1 UC-Santa Cruz 5, #8 Carnegie Mellon University 4
#4 Kenyon College 8 , #5 Gustavus Adolphus College 1
#3 Washington University 8, #6 Johns Hopkins 1
#2 Emory University 6, #7 DePauw University 3

ITA Division III National Men’s Team Indoor Championships: Semifinals
#1 UC-Santa Cruz 5, #4 Kenyon College 4
#3 Washington University 5, #2 Emory University 4

More on the Semifinalists
UC-Santa Cruz: For the second consecutive year at the ITA National Division III Team Indoors, UC-Santa Cruz and Kenyon found themselves in a heated 5-4 battle. Only this time, the top-ranked Slugs were ready for the upset-minded and fourth-seeded Kenyon team. In the team’s first ITA Team Indoor appearance, the Lords upset the eventual NCAA Champion UC-Santa Cruz team 5-4 in the first round of play.

Santa Cruz came out firing on all cylinders in doubles play, quickly grabbing a 2-0 lead with wins at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions by the score of 8-2 and 8-3, respectively. At court one doubles, the duo of seniors William Vandenberg and Michael Greenberg were no match for the fifth-ranked squad of Marc Vartabedian and Brian Pybas from UCSC. Before the match got away from the Lords of Ohio, the No. 2 duo of Tomas Piskacek and Jeremy Polster were able to grind out an 8-6 victory, cutting the margin to just one heading into singles.

Kenyon knew that if they were to have any chance against the defending NCAA champs, they would need their top two singles players to have a great showing. Tomas Piskacek, a senior native of the Czech Republic and one of the few non-Americans in Division III is currently ranked No. 7 in the Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings, while 2008 NCAA Division III Singles Champion and former ITA All-Star member, Michael Greenberg, is ranked tenth after battling through some injuries in the fall.

Unfortunately for Kenyon, neither one was able to capture a victory in today’s matches. Piskacek was dominated at No. 2 singles by Vartabedian, losing in straight sets. Greenberg started out strong, winning the first set, 6-3 but got down early in the second set and never recovered as the match continued. With the Slugs’ victories at first and second singles to put them up 4-2, they could see the victory in their grasps - - maybe even a bit prematurely as the Lords quickly recovered, recording wins at the three and four spots. As was the story of the day, the match would fall in the hands of the players battling at No. 6 singles.

Andre Halabi, one of six freshman on the UC-Santa Cruz squad squared off against Charles Brody, one of six seniors for Kenyon. In this case, experience would not play a factor as Halabi displayed a dominating performance, crushing Brody and the spirit of the Kenyon players with 6-2, 6-4 victory to clinch the match for the Banana Slugs, sending them to the finals for the seventh time in the history of the tournament and for the fifth time in the past six years after appearing in the finals from 2005 through 2008. However, the UCSC has only hoisted the trophy twice in that span, the last coming in 2007 with a 9-0 blasting of fellow Golden State program, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.

No. 1 UC-Santa Cruz 5, No. 4 Kenyon 4
1. #5 Vartabedian/Pybas (UCSC) def. VandenBerg/Greenberg (KEN) 8-2
2. Piskacek/Polster (KEN) def. Koenig/Stanley (UCSC) 8-6
3. Capaul/Halabi (UCSC) def. Ye/Brody (KEN) 8-3
Order of finish (doubles): 1, 3, 2

1. Brian Pybas (UCSC) def. #10 Mike Greenberg (KEN) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
2. Marc Vartabedian (UCSC) def. #7 Tomas Piskacek (KEN) 6-2, 6-3
3. Jeremy Polster (KEN) def. Erich Koenig (UCSC) 6-1, 4-6, 6-3
4. Will VandenBerg (KEN) def. Silvio Chiba (UCSC) 6-4, 6-2
5. Paul Burgin (KEN) def. Aaron Morrill (UCSC) 6-1, 6-2
6. Andre Halabi (UCSC) def. Charlie Brody (KEN) 6-2, 6-4
Order of finish (singles): 5, 1, 2, 4, 3, 6

First Round Matchup: No. 1 UC-Santa Cruz def. No. 8 Carnegie Mellon, 5-4
Semifinal Matchup: No. 1 UC-Santa Cruz def. No. 4 Kenyon, 5-4
Final Matchup: No. 1 UC-Santa Cruz vs. No. 3 Washington University – 9:00 a.m. (CT)

Washington University: A doubles sweep propelled the No. 3 ranked Washington University in St. Louis men’s tennis team to a 5-4 victory over UAA conference archrival and No. 2 Emory University. The Bears’ outstanding doubles play, in particularly at No. 1 doubles, which in retrospect would be the determining point in the match, shifted the pendulum back in favor of Washington in the back and forth rivalry that has continued to develop over the past several years.
In what could be the best Division III men’s doubles match of the season, the third-ranked tandem of Isaac Stein and Max Woods of Washington were able to outlast second-ranked Chris Goodwin and Dillon Pottish of Emory, 9-8 (5).

Pottish, the sensational sophomore, currently ranked fourth in the Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings in singles, has done an admirable job of taking the place of 2009 NCAA Champion Michael Goodwin, the brother of Chris, both of whom were named ITA All-Americans after capturing the doubles title at the 2008 ITA Small College National Championships.

In an a bit of irony, both Pottish and Goodwin put the clamps on their singles opponents, giving up only five points between them, while Stein and Woods each came up short in their matches. Pottish’s victory was especially spectacular, allowing only four points to top-ranked John Watts, the 2009 ITA Small College Division III Singles Champion. With the wins by both of Emory’s top-10 ranked players, the Eagles were right back in the thick of the match, which would ultimately be decided by No. 6 singles.

Senior Danny Levy was able to clinch the match rather easily for WU with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Chris Redmond at No. 6 singles. Levy, who also provided the heroics in a 5-3 win over Emory in the national championship match on May 15, 2008, trailed 4-1 in the first set before reeling off five-straight games to take charge of the match.

This marked the third-straight year Emory and Washington U. have met at the ITA Indoor Championships. Washington U. defeated Emory, 7-2, in the third-place match in 2008, while Emory posted a 6-3 victory in the national championship match a year ago.

Washington University, which has won four-straight matches, takes on No. 1 ranked University of California-Santa Cruz, in what will be a matchup of the 2008 and 2009 NCAA Division III Champions.

No. 3 Washington, No. 2 Emory
1. #3 Stein/Woods (WU) def. #2 Goodwin/Pottish (EU) 9-8 (5)
2. Watts/Farah (WU) def. Chun/Humphreys (EU) 8-5
3. Chiang/Levy (WU) def. Simonson/Caplan (EU) 8-5
Order of finish (doubles): 2, 1, 3

1. #4 Dillon Pottish (EU) def. #1 John Watts (WU) 6-2, 6-2
2. #6 Chris Goodwin (EU) def. Isaac Stein (WU) 6-0, 6-1
3. Colin Egan (EU) def. Adam Putterman (WU) 6-4, 7-5
4. Philipp Overdiek (EU) def. Max Woods (WU) 5-7, 6-4, 1-0 (3-1)
5. Gary Parizher (WU) def. Daniel Weingarten (EU) 6-4, 1-6, 6-3
6. Danny Levy (WU) def. Chris Redmond (EU) 6-4, 6-3
Order of finish (singles): 3, 1, 5, 2, 6, 4

First Round Matchup: No. 3 Washington University def. No. 6 Johns Hopkins, 9- 0
Semifinal Matchup: No. 3 Washington University def. No. 2 Emory, 5-4
Final Matchup: No. 3 Washington University vs. No. 1 UC-Santa Cruz – 9:00 a.m. (CT)

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