SAINT PETER, MN. – Another day, another Emory men’s tennis match that went down to the wire.
With an ITA national championship on the line, No. 1 Emory and No. 2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps battled throughout Sunday morning at the Swanson Tennis Center on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota.
The Stags, playing in the National Team Indoors for the first time since 2009, had the championship trophy within its grasp after racing out to a 4-1 lead. But, as they did all tourney long, the Eagles clawed their way back and, in the end, found a way to be the last team standing.
Andrew Harrington was the hero for Emory, as he erased a third set deficit and outlasted Matthew Jacobs of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in a tiebreak 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (3), to give Emory a 5-4 victory and secure the team’s third consecutive ITA Division III National Men’s Team Indoor Championship.
“I’m glad we got the victory and we worked really hard to get here,” said Harrington, a senior from Millersville, Maryland.
As he headed into the match-deciding tiebreak, Harrington knew he had to give it everything he had.
“I told myself it was now or never,” said Harrington. “I stepped my game up and put everything I had out there,” said Harrington. “I really gave it my all and I think that’s what pushed me over the edge.”
The hero of Saturday’s semifinal win over No. 4 Chicago, Emory’s Hayden Cassone capped off a strong week of play with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Daniel Park at No. 4 singles to move the Eagles within two at 4-2. Emory’s comeback run continued with wins at No. 6 singles (Scott Rubinstein def. Avinash Vemuri 6-3, 7-5) and No. 3 singles (Adrien Bouchet def. Oscar Burney 3-6, 6-3, 6-0) to draw even at 4-4 and set the stage for Harrington to complete the comeback.
“Every single point matters,” said Harrington. “There’s always a way to come back and I think we proved that, especially in this tournament with three 5-4 wins.”
After taking two of three courts in doubles, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps surged ahead in singles, moving within a point of the championship following victories at No. 1 and 2 singles. Nikolai Parodi topped Emory’s Jonathan Jemison 6-3, 6-2 at No. 1, while CMS’s Jack Katzman scored a 6-0, 6-4 decision over Alec Josepher at No. 2.
The Stags’ No. 1 pairing of Julian Gordy and Parodi (8-4 over Rubinstein and Spaulding) and No. 2 duo of Burney and Katzman (8-2 win against Bouchet and Max Renke) claimed the team’s first two points of the match, while Emory’s No. 3 team of Jemison and Cassone garnered the Eagles’ lone doubles point with an 8-5 win versus Jake Berber and Park.
The ITA would like to thank the Gustavus Adolphus College athletic department for hosting the 2018 ITA Division III National Men’s Team Indoor Championship and congratulate all eight teams for three days of exciting competition.
No. 1 Emory def. No. 2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 5-4
No. 2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps def. No. 3 Washington University in St. Louis 6-3
No. 1 Emory def. No. 4 Chicago 5-4
Opening Round Results
No. 3 Washington University in St. Louis def. No. 6 University of Redlands 9-0
No. 2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps def. No. 7 Trinity University 9-0
No. 4 Chicago def. No. 5 Carnegie Mellon 6-3
No. 1 Emory def. No. 8 Gustavus Adolphus 5-4