ST. LOUIS -- Coe trailed after doubles play for just the eighth time in 32 matches Friday, but came back to defeat Earlham 5-2 in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The Kohawks dropped No. 1 singles 8-5 and No. 2 9-7, but earned a big win at No. 3 doubles. Sean Stokstad and Zack Decker defeated Andrey Gavrilov and Matthew Foster 8-3.
Needing four wins in singles to secure their third consecutive opening round win in the NCAA tournament, the Kohawks went to work quickly. Michael Janssen cruised to a 6-1, 6-0 win against Foster at No. 6 singles to tie the match, while Alex Bernt downed Gavrilov 6-1, 6-2 at No. 5 singles to give Coe the lead for good.
At No. 2 singles, Riley Galbraith defeated Phillip Locklear 7-5, 6-2, while Stokstad sealed the victory with a 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 win against Jack Ventura-Cruess at No. 4 singles. Noah Sprinkel, ranked 21st in the country, was up 6-4, 4-6, 4-3 at No. 1 singles against Anton Bartashevich when the match was called. Ryan Hickman was also in a third set with Hank Levin at No. 3 singles.
The victory was the fifth in school history in the NCAA tournament. Coe (25-7) advances to the second round for the third consecutive year. The Kohawks will face second-ranked Washington (Mo.) in the second round.