03
Oct
09

cats travel to williams to compete in wilson/ita regional championships

One weekend after the four our drive to Middlebury to play in the first fall tournament, it was time to make another long drive to western Massachusetts to play in the ITA tournament hosted by Williams. The winner of the singles and doubles draws would be crowned an ITA All-American and compete in the Small College National Tournament, something Stein and Amrit did a year ago. This tournament is arguably the hardest of all the ITA Regional tournaments held in the fall, with some of the best players in the country competing in it. Friday morning started with singles for Reiss, Max, Bettles, and Jeff. Reiss gave the Cats their first win of the day with a solid performance against Fenichell of Bowdoin. In the afternoon he played the #1 seed Lebedoff from Williams. In one of the best matches of the tournament, Reiss pushed the Purple Eph to three sets, eventually losing it 6-4 in the third. Reiss constantly put his opponent under pressure, by attacking non stop the whole match. He came up with winners that left Lebedoff and the Williams supports wondering how exactly he hit that shot. Reiss would then go on into the consolation bracket where he would defeat Kim and Sorrell from Amherst on Saturday.

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Bettles, playing in just his second collegiate tournament, won his first two matches over Meyer from Williams and White from Brandeis to reach the final 16. Unfortunately, Saturday would not be as successful as Friday, with Matt losing to Lee of Middlebury. Max and Jeff could never get things going in singles in their first round matches, losing to Laber of Tufts and O’Dell of Middlebury respectively. They pair would certainly redeem themselves when the doubles started later in the afternoon. Amrit was last to go on the court for singles, getting a bye in the first round. He would join Bettles in the round of 16 with a win over Lunghino, a freshman from Middlebury. He, just like Bettles would have a tough defeat on Saturday morning against Felix Sun of Williams, who would eventually lose in the semis. Again, the Cats would shine in the doubles draw later in Friday afternoon.

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Rupa and Bettles, fresh off their Middlebury Championship, were the #2 seeds. They started off with a convincing win against a Clark team, then stepped up their level of play in the round of 16 against the Williams duo of Meyer and Binder, winning 8-4. Going into Saturday afternoon, the pair had high hopes of reaching the semis, only to see another Williams team on fire stop the Cats in their tracks. They were upended by Petrie and Chaplin 8-2. It was certainly a learning experience for Amrit and Matt, as this was only their 7th match together.

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Like I mentioned before, Jeff and Max would redeem themselves in the doubles draw even though this was the first time they had played a competitive match together. The Cats started with a victory over the Trinity team of McConnell and Ayers, 8-6. Then as the day was turning into evening, they would face the #5 seed of Lebdoff and Chow playing on their home courts. The Cats started slow and were down a break of serve as it was apparent they hadn’t played much together. It seemed as if it was going to be an easy Williams victory when they were serving up 6-3, but that is exactly when Jeff and Max fired themselves up. The guys started ripping returns and crossing at the net on every ball. Suddenly it was Lebedoff and Chow who looked uneasy and started to press. The two teams found themselves locked in a 6-6 tie, with the Cats finding the energy after a long day of tennis to come up with the shots needed to take the lead. Nothing Williams did mattered; this was the Cats’s day as Max closed it out on his serve. It was an impressive win for the Cats, proving to themselves if they play high energy, aggressive doubles they can hang with any team in the country. Later at dinner, Jeff would say this was the most fun he had ever had on a tennis court. Unfortunately, just like Matt and Amrit, Saturday was not as fun as Friday. Max and Jeff struggled to find the recipe for success against a veteran Middlebury team of Thompson and Lee.

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The ITA Championship weekend did not go as well as the Cats hoped, but it is still very early in the season. The fall tournaments are mainly about gaining experience, and every Bobcat came away with many lessons learned. The men are back on the court Oct.10-11 right here at Bates for the Wallach Invitational. Come out and support the Cats in their final contest until February.

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