Men’s tennis gears up for NCAA tournament

lindsayfairchild

After the end of a very successful season, the men’s tennis team got an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III National Tournament by winning the Northwest Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. The team is seeded sixth in the West Region,; senior Matt Solomon got the six-seed in the individual bracket , while him and junior Ettiene Moshevich got the nod at the sixth seed in the doubles bracket.

Since Whitman is one of the few Division III schools that have to be flown in to the tournament sites, the location of the tournament is still undecided until Sunday, May 9.

The format of the tournament is four regions of fifteen teams. The winners of each of the four regions will advance to the final four in Cleveland. Coach Jeff Northam is very optimistic about how the Missionaries will do.

“I have pretty high expectations for the event. If we play well we can give any team a run for their money. We have enough talent and experience to upset teams in our regional event. Obviously a lot depends on our draw,” said Northam.

Currently, the top eight Division III teams in the nation are: 1. Middlebury College, 2. Washington University: St. Louis, 3. Emory University, 4. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges, 5. Cal Lutheran University, 6. University of California: Santa Cruz, 7. Carnegie Mellon University and 8. Amherst University. The national singles ranking has not been published yet, but senior Matt Solomon is the sixth-ranked player in the West Region, and the doubles partnership of Solomon and junior Etienne Moshevic is ranked sixth in the region as well.

Solomon also believes that the Whitman men will be successful at the NCAA tournament.

“There is actually a lot of pressure riding on the conference tournament because nothing else that happened during the season matters. Despite going undefeated in our conference during the regular season, if we slip up at the tournament, we don’t go to nationals,” said Solomon. “We have the firepower and the quality of players to do it and we are looking forward to being pitbulls in the NCAA [tournament]. We are looking to give it everything we have!”

During their time here, the seniors currently on Whitman’s roster have not lost a single conference game.

“It was awesome to finish our conference careers with four consecutive undefeated conference regular seasons. Our group of seniors are very close and advancing to nationals is a great way to end our careers. Hopefully we will make some great memories at national,” said Fuchs. “We’ve added three talented freshmen to the team and the team’s future looks bright. We had tons of fun as a group this year, and I will treasure those memories,” said senior Christoph Fuchs.

The men’s tennis team has had a great season. Not only did they complete their fourth consecutive undefeated conference season in a row, along with earning the Northwest Conference Player of the Year honors, Solomon joins first-year Jeff Tolman on the all-conference first-team. Meanwhile Moshevich and fellow junior Chris Bailey round-off the all-conference second-team. The Missionaries will be looking forward building on the individual momentum to have a successful team run at the NCAA tournament.

In a season where there couldn’t have been that many lows, Northam looked back at the positive experiences.

“One that stands out is of one of our first matches of the year. We are playing our conference rival PLU and unfortunately we are playing poorly and are down 2-4. We end up winning the last three matches in third sets to win 5-4. That match showed me the heart and determination of our team. That match also helped us refocus our efforts; later in the year we beat PLU 9-0 and 5-1 in the conference tournament.”