Williams builds to NCAA title
Trey Meyer leads Ephs to dream four years in the making
KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- What began as a far-fetched dream four years ago, became reality on Wednesday night as Williams defeated top-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 5-2 to claim the NCAA Division III national championship at the Markin Center, Kalamazoo's indoor tennis facility.
That dream took an apparent detour through California earlier this season when Williams lost to CMS 5-4, and then lost 5-4 to New England Small College Athletic Conference rival Amherst a week later. Those losses actually put the dream back on track.
“We travel to California every year and we lost to CMS 5-4 and then we lost to Amherst too, but we used those two losses to fuel us to close out matches,” Williams coach Dan Greenberg said. “It's hard to describe these seniors and the four-year process they've been on. They have been dreaming about this since they were freshmen and they just cared so much. The younger guys have followed their lead.”
Williams' men's team last won the national championship in 2002, two seasons before Greenberg became a player there.
“This is going to feel amazing,” Greenberg said, “but right now it hasn't sunk in yet.”
Williams' senior captain, Trey Meyer, lost his two matches Wednesday, falling with his No. 1 doubles partner Alex Schidlovsky 9-8 (7-5) to CMS's Joe Dorn and Zhenya Pereverzin and dropping his No. 1 singles match to Dorn 7-6 (7-2), 6-2, but could not have been happier after hoisting the national championship trophy.
“Trey has been more than just our captain,” Greenberg said. “He has been my assistant coach in many ways. This definitely would not have happened without him.”
Williams is the first school since Emory in 2006 to won the DIII men's and women's national tennis championships in the same season. The Ephs women defeated Emory for the title Wednesday afternoon.
“We obviously had this goal when we were freshmen, but it was far-fetched,” said Meyer, a resident of New Orleans who is majoring in economics. “This has been a process since before we were freshmen.
The seniors when I was a freshman taught us how to compete and the captains my middle two years, Will Petrie and Kevin Shallcross, really brought this program to the next level. They really set this up for us. They taught us how to lead and this is the culmination of what we have been working toward for over a decade. I couldn't be more pleased, but I am also excited to see where this program goes.”
After graduation, Meyer plans to go to work in Boston.
“Obviously I will never lose touch with these guys,” he said. “We constantly hang out together. This team really values academics and we are always studying together. Dan [Greenberg] always makes sure that is our No. 1 priority. Classroom, court and community -- he calls them the three Cs. When you put those three things together, a day like this can happen.”
Amherst, which won the 2011 NCAA III national championship, finished third this year, beating Washington (Mo.) 5-2 in Wednesday's consolation match.