Cal Lutheran's Ballou, Worley advance to semifinals in NCAA doubles play
KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Cal Lutheran seniors Nicholas Ballou and Raymond Worley IV have done themselves at least one better than last year.
Ballou and Worley, who advanced to the quarterfinal round of the last year's NCAA doubles tournament, won their quarterfinal match Friday evening in the 2013 championships at Kalamazoo College's Stowe Stadium. The Kingsmen, who are the top seed in the tournament, beat Amrik Donkena and Mya Smith-Dennis of Gustavus Adolphus 6-2, 7-5.
Worley lost a three-hour, three-set match to Kevin Caulfield of Haverford Thursday in the singles tournament's Round of 32 while Ballou, who was the tournament's top-seeded player, lost to Mark Kahan of Amherst in the Round of 16. So now they are focused solely on winning a national doubles championship.
“I was furious after losing my three-hour match,” said Worley, who also called himself the “calm” member of the Cal Lutheran doubles team. “Mark Kahan played a great match and he has advanced to the finals so that makes me feel a little bit better Ballou said. “It motivates me even more to finish this thing.”
Ballou and Worley have been playing doubles together for two and a half years and have survived two back surgeries that Ballou has undergone to repair herniated discs. The last of those surgeries was less than a year ago, in July of 2012.
“Nick is more the fire and I'm more calm,” Worley said. “It's like opposites playing together.”
Ballou graduated with a degree in communications and public relations, while Worley earned a degree in business administration with a management emphasis. He plans to begin his career in July, working for an IT company in El Secundo.
“I'm looking forward to the transition to real life, almost,” Worley said.
Ballou and Worley are scheduled to play Elliot Kahler and Ian Wagner of Emory in Saturday's semifinals.
“Ray has his own fire but I bring a little of my own fire,” Ballou said. “Ray and I have established the set-up-and-put-away. I bring a little more firepower and explosiveness and Ray sets up points well.”
The No. 2 seed in the doubles tournament, Adam Putterman and Ross Putterman of Washington (Mo.), were knocked out Friday night by Michael Holt and Taylor Shamshiri of Washington & Lee.
“We try not to think about being the top seed,” Worley said. “We try to play like it's any other match.”
The men's doubles finals are scheduled for Saturday afternoon.