Archive for May 29th, 2009


Rupa bears down to close out wash u in semis

It has not been easy for any of us to go through the drama Stein has caused with his singles matches over the three-day tournament, but it has been especially hard for Amrit. He wants his teammate to win as much as anyone, but he also has to keep his focus as he watches tennis all day knowing it is he who will have to step up big in the doubles the more fatigued Ben becomes after every match. The rubber match against the Washington University pair of Hoeland and Cutler would be the time for Rupa to shine.


This would be the third and deciding match between these two teams. The Cats won in last spring’s NCAA Quarterfinal, then the Bears got revenge in the third place match at the Small College National Tournament this past fall in Mobile, AL. With Stein having just come off a heartbreaking loss in the singles final, Rupa knew he would have to carry the Cats emotionally. Ben would obviously give all he had, but it would be Amrit who would have to bring the emotional energy. Both teams started very solid, as they traded breaks and ended up in a tiebreak. The Cats would come out on top, which was big for them to start out on a positive note.











The second set would not go as hoped, with the Cats struggling to keep their energy up. The Bears stepped up their play and the Cats lost some of their intensity as Wash U took the second set. It was down to one final set, either the duo of Stein and Rupasinghe would end their careers here, or they would continue the amazing Bates run into the final. It would be Amrit who would have the final say. It seemed to be a rather routine set until 4-4, when Rupa, having not returned well much of the match, hit several amazing returns. He then attacked beautifully off of very solid returns from Stein, giving the Cats the much-needed break. It was then up to Rupa to serve out the biggest match of their careers. They quickly got up 40-0 after three huge serves, and then the Bears came back with two good returns. At 40-30, Amrit reached back and hit one of the biggest serves of his life as the return sailed wide giving the Cats the three set victory.











An hour later, it would be their biggest rivals from Bowdoin waiting for them in the finals. Having lost to the Polar Bears in the regular season, there was no other team Ben and Amrit would rather face for the National Championship. 



stein battles for singles crown

Stein awoke early Sunday morning just as he had every day since we have been out in California. He had an unbelievable opportunity ahead of him on Sunday, the chance to play in both the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championship match. Sunday would turn out to be one of the greatest days in Bates Tennis history, and for that reason it is necessary to tell the story of each match individually, rather than a collective whole.

The NCAA Singles Championship was first up for Stein. The match started at high noon against one of the most decorated division 3 tennis players of all time, fellow senior Michael Goodwin of Emory University. Goodwin has received numerous All-American awards in both singles and doubles, has won a team national title, but has never won an individual national championship. It was not going to be easy for Stein going against such an amazing shot maker as Goodwin, but Ben had found a way to victory in the previous four grueling matches and expected this day to be no different.


With the TV cameras rolling, the newspaper photographers snapping their cameras, Stein served up the first point of the match. The first set was back and forth, both players serving bombs and then attacking off of the forehand side. Late in the set, Ben had a set point, but Goodwin served an ace to get himself out of trouble. He would then go on to break Ben to win the first set. It was a highly entertaining and well-played first set; the fans expected more of the same in the second.

Stein FH

Stein BH









Both guys traded blows throughout the second, with Goodwin eventually getting the break of serve. It looked as though Stein was done for; his magical run had come to an end when Goodwin stepped to the line to serve it out for the championship at 5-4. That was when Stein showed the grit and fight he displayed all tournament, the heart that had drawn so many of the spectators to root for him over the three days, and the toughness that should make anyone associated with Bates proud. He returned big serves with even bigger returns, ran down every ball and allowed Goodwin to feel the nerves as he struck a forehand long to lose the game. Stein would then go on to win the next two games in convincing fashion to take the second set. We were headed to third and final set to decide the national championship, what more could we have asked for.

Stein Serve













The third set started as we hoped, an easy hold for Stein. It was then that Goodwin showed exactly what has made him such a great player. He started to rip winners from all angles of the court, painting lines and drawing oohs and awes from the crowd. The fatigue finally caught up to Ben, as his serve did not have the pop it normally did. His right arm and legs had been pushed to the limit, as this was his 7th match in less than three days. It would be the Emory Eagle’s day, winning 6-1 in the third set. It would have been easy for Ben to go down in the second set after losing such a close first set and knowing he had a doubles match to follow, but this was a player determined to leave it all out on the court. His amazing three-day run in singles was finished, but not without a glance back at some incredible matches.











Friday- Stein defeated Erani of host Claremont Mudd Scripps, coming out strong early to win the first, only to let nerves set in and lose the second set. Regaining his form in the third set he went on to victory earning him his first All-American honor in singles.

He then defeated Boren of Emory in a physically exhausting two set match. Battling cramps throughout the second set, he found a way to will himself to victory meaning he was one of the top eight players in the country.

Stein Trophy

Saturday- First up was one of the hottest players from the first day of competition, Wang from Johns Hopkins. After struggling to get going in the first set, he finally started playing the tennis we expected in the second but still found himself down a match point. On a second serve, he served and volleyed winning an amazing point to keep him in the match. He would eventually win the tiebreak to take the second set and also break the spirit of his opponent winning the third set in convincing fashion.

In the semi-finals Ben would find his toughest test so far, the #1 player in the country, Kauss from Gustavus Adolphus. Stein executed the game plan perfectly, dictating with his serve and forehand, getting to net putting pressure on his opponent to make tough passes. He would win two hotly contested sets to move him into the finals against Goodwin.


For most people this would be a dream come true just to do this well in singles, but as Ben moved through the singles draw, he was equaling it in the doubles, which makes his story even more incredible.

May 2009


Bates Tennis Blog