May 20, 2009

Claremont, Calif., May 20, 2009 - The No. 1 Washington University in St. Louis men's tennis team lost its bid to repeat as NCAA Division III national champions after being upset by No. 6 Amherst College, 5-2, in the 2009 NCAA Tournament semifinal round on Wednesday, May 20, at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center on the campus of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges in Claremont, Calif.

With the loss on Wednesday afternoon, Washington University had its school-record 19-match winning streak snapped, and the Bears' NCAA Tournament winning streak ended at eight-straight matches.

Washington U. (22-3) will conclude its season on Thursday, May 21, when it faces University Athletic Association (UAA) rival Emory University in the NCAA Third-Place Match at 12 p.m. (PT). Washington University and Emory have already met twice this season, splitting two contests. Emory picked up a 6-3 win at the National Indoor Championships on Feb. 22, but the Bears exacted revenge with a 5-4 win over Emory at the 2009 UAA Championship on April 17.

The two squads will be meeting in NCAA Tournament action for the second year in a row, as they squared off in the NCAA Championship Match a year ago, with Washington U. grabbing a 5-3 win to capture the first national title in school history.

Against Amherst on Wednesday, Washington U. trailed 2-1 after doubles play, needing to win four of the six singles contests to come away with a victory. Senior Nirmal Choradia and junior John Watts tied the match at 1-1 thanks to an 8-1 win at No. 3 doubles, and the doubles advantage came down to the No. 2 match-up.

The WU duo of sophomores Max Woods and Isaac Stein appeared to be in command at No. 2 doubles, leading Priit Gross and Austin Chafetz 7-5. But Priit and Chafetz broke the Washington U. serve and rallied to take four-straight games and give the Lord Jeffs a 2-1 lead heading into singles.

Amherst led 3-1 thanks to a Chafetz straight-set 6-2, 6-3, win over senior Charlie Cutler in No. 2 singles, but Watts pulled his team back within two points with a straight-set win of his own, dispatching Zach Lerner in the No. 1 contest, 6-1, 6-2.

At No. 6 singles, Washington University senior Chris Hoeland dropped a hard fought match to Wes Waterman, 7-5, 7-5, meaning the Red and Green needed to sweep the remaining three singles contests to complete their comeback. It was not meant to be as Gross held off WU junior Danny Levy at No. 5 singles, 7-6, 6-0, 6-2.