April 19, 2009

Rochester, N.Y., April 19, 2009 -- The No. 2 ranked Washington University in St. Louis men's tennis team captured its first-ever University Athletic Association (UAA) championship with a 5-4 victory over No. 1 ranked Emory University on Sunday afternoon in Rochester, N.Y. Junior Danny Levy clinched the match with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 victory over Oliver Lopp at No. 5 singles.

"It was very similar to the NCAA Tournament last year. I did not want to focus on the situation, just tried to focus on tennis," said Levy, who also clinched the Bears 2008 NCAA National Championship victory over Emory. "One of our goals each season is to win conference and end Emory's streak. To be able to call ourselves UAA champions is a great feeling."

Washington University (19-2), which extended its school-record winning streak to 16 matches, ends Emory's 19-year run as the conference champion. The Bears also gain the automatic bid to the 2009 NCAA Division Tournament where they will be making their 10th-straight appearance and 14th overall.

The teams met earlier this year with Emory emerging with a 6-3 victory in the finals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championship on Feb. 22 in St. Peter, Minn. The two teams will enter NCAA Tournament play as the top two seeds, and could meet for a third time this season and sixth in the last two years.

The Bears swept doubles play for the third-straight match and 13th time this season, and marked just the second time this season that Emory has not won a doubles match.

"We pride ourselves in doubles. It is a key ingredient to setting the table for the match," said Washington University head coach Roger Follmer of the doubles sweep. "Winning third doubles was a huge momentum change. Emory did not give it to us, they made us work for it."

Seniors Charlie Cutler and Chris Hoeland rebounded from a loss to Emory on Feb. 22 with an 8-5 victory over Michael and Chris Goodwin at No. 1. Cutler and Hoeland, the No. 3 ranked team in Division III, has won eight-straight matches and is 26-4 this season. The Goodwin brothers' entered the contest ranked No. 1 in Division III and suffered just their fourth loss all season.

Sophomores Isaac Stein and Max Woods followed with an 8-4 victory at No. 2 over Mark Boren and David Caplan in a battle of two top-15 doubles teams in Division III. Stein and Woods are ranked No. 8, while Boren and Caplan were ranked No. 14.

The Bears completed the sweep as senior Nirmal Choradia and junior John Watts pushed their record to 14-0 with a 9-8 (8-4) come-from-behind win over Oliver Lopp and Chris Jordan at No. 3. Choradia and Watts trailed 7-4, love-30, but reeled off three-straight games to knot the match at 7-7.

"We got down 7-4, and focused in and started making our returns. Once that happened, they started missing some easy volleys and it turned the match around." Choradia said. "Going up 3-0 after doubles was huge as the pressure was on Emory."

Chris Goodwin defeated Cutler, 6-1, 6-0, at No. 2 to trim the lead to 3-1. The loss for Cutler snapped his eight-match winning streak. Watts put the Bears up 4-1 as he won his 12th-straight singles match with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Michael Goodwin at the top spot. He improved his overall mark to 89-14 in his three-year career on the Danforth Campus, and is just one singles victory from tying the all-time mark of 90 set by Ari Rosenthal (2002-06).

Emory (17-3, 2-1 UAA) trimmed the Bears' advantage to 4-3 with two straight-set victories in singles. No. 20 Mark Boren upended Woods at No. 3, 6-0, 6-4, and No. 18 Colin Egan beat Stein at No. 4, 6-2, 6-4.

The UAA championship came down to three-set matches No. 5 (Levy) and No. 6 singles (Hoeland). The Eagles knotted the match at 4-4 as David Caplan rallied for a 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-2 victory over Hoeland at No. 6 setting up Levy for the clinching match.