Elmhurst comes back in singles to win first CCIW conference title since 1954
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- Elmhurst toppled Wheaton (Ill.) 5-3 to score its first CCIW championship since the 1954 season.
Wheaton (13-7) jumped out in front by taking two of the three doubles matches. The Thunder's Ryan Kries and Josh Ward upended the Bluejays' Alex Harbert and Will Jung 8-3 at No. 1 doubles. Elmhurst (14-9) scored a point at No. 3 doubles when Vincent McPherson and Kevin Noble downed John Bodett and Derek Mumaw 8-4 to even the match. Wheaton went on top 2-1 after David Buursma and Miles Greenwald edged Elmhurst's Luke Tanaka and Quinn Jennings 9-8 at No. 2 doubles. The tightly-contested match was decided by an 8-6 tiebreaker.
"Trailing 2-1 after doubles wasn't what we had in mind," head coach Anthony McPherson said. "But, I'm very impressed with how we rallied heading into singles play. Before we started, I reminded the guys about how hard they worked all season and that ever point was critical. I couldn't be prouder of how they responded."
In singles play, the Bluejays quickly evened the score as Jung tied the match with a 6-1, 7-6 win against Ward at No. 2 singles. Chris Harrison breezed past Bodett 6-1, 6-1 at No. 6 singles to put the Bluejays on top 3-2.
Jennings rallied from a set down at No. 5 singles to defeat Mumaw 3-6, 6-2, 6-0 and give Elmhurst a 4-2 lead in the match. With three matches remaining on the court, Elmhurst clinched the conference title when Vincent McPherson scored a three-set win against Buursma (3-6, 6-1, 6-1) at No. 3 singles. Kries edged Harbert 6-2, 6-4 at No. 1 singles to make the final scored 5-3 in favore of the Bluejays.
With the match decided, Tanaka's match against Greenwald was not completed, although Tanaka led 6-1, 5-5 at the time.
"This is really an unbelievable feeling," Anthony McPherson said. "This team worked incredibly hard this season and it's great to see them rewarded with the college's first CCIW tennis championship in almost 60 years."