Weekend Bear Sports

The Washington University in St. Louis men’s tennis team captured its first NCAA Division III National Championship with a 5-3 victory over Emory University on Thursday afternoon at the Wallach Tennis Center in Lewiston, Maine.

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Sophomore Danny Levy clinched the match for the Bears with a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 come-from-behind victory over David Caplan at No. 4 singles.

“I got down a break in the second set and continued to battle back,” said Levy, who upped his career record to 43-9. “It was so incredible, and my teammates were cheering loud, which helped me out. Everyone on the team jumped the fence and swarmed me. It was a great feeling.”

The team of juniors Charlie Cutler and Chris Hoeland fell behind to Michael Goodwin and Caplan, 4-0, at No. 1 doubles. Cutler and Hoeland answered back with four breaks of serve and four holds to post an 8-4 win. The victory was the 25th of the year for the duo.

“It was not the start we were looking for in doubles,” said Hoeland. “We finally started returning well and got a couple breaks and the momentum.”

The Bears (21-4) made it 2-0 as junior Nirmal Choradia and sophomore John Watts defeated Mark Boren and Hardy Ehlers at No. 2 doubles, 8-4. Choradia and Watts are 4-0 since being paired up on May 4 in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

Emory captured its lone point in doubles as Oliver Lopp and Michael Kaufman posted an 8-5 win over the freshman tandem of Isaac Stein and Max Woods at No. 3. The loss for Stein and Woods dropped them to 9-2 this season, and snapped their four-match winning streak.

Stein pushed Washington U.’s advantage to 3-1 with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Colin Egan at No. 6 singles. The victory for Stein was his 13th-straight, improving his record to 16-2. The Eagles trimmed WU’s advantage to 3-2 as Oliver Lopp posted a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Woods at No. 4 singles.

Goodwin, ranked 20th in singles, evened the match with a 6-4, 6-3 upset victory at No. 1 over Watts, the top-ranked player in Division III. Goodwin also defeated Watts, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 at the UAA Championship on April 27 in Atlanta, Ga.

Hoeland pushed Washington U.’s lead to 4-3 with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 come-from-behind victory over Ehlers. The win for Hoeland was his 11th-straight, and improved his overall record to 19-6.

“This was a great match between two good teams,” said seventh-year head coach Roger Follmer, who is 113-40 (.739) in seven seasons on the Danforth Campus. “This is a great win for our program. We have come a long way and to be a part of history is great. The whole team should feel good about the accomplishment.”

Emory, the 2003 and 2006 team national champion, ends the season with a 19-7 overall record. The national championship is the third for Washington University in the 2007-08 school year (volleyball, men’s basketball).