The fourth-ranked Gustavus Adolphus men’s tennis team dropped a tough 5-4 decision to third-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the semifinal round of the ITA Division III Men’s National Indoor Championships Saturday afternoon at the Swanson Tennis Center in St. Peter. The Gusties will face top-ranked Emory in Sunday morning’s third place match.
The Gusties took a 2-1 lead following doubles play as Jesse Brauer (Sr., Mankato, Minn./West) and Andy Bryan (Jr., Edina, Minn.) defeated William Ellison and David Oehm 8-5 at No. 1 doubles and Nick Hansen (So., Duluth, Minn./East) and Ben Tomasek (So., Oakdale, Minn./North St. Paul) topped Eric Chow and Evan Feldhausen 8-3 at No. 3 doubles. The Stags captured the No. 2 doubles match as Lawrence Wang and Guillaume Schils bested Mike Burdakin (So., Bettendorf, Iowa) and Charlie Paukert (So., Grand Forks, N.D.) 8-3.
C-M-S drew even at 2-2 after Eric Chow posted a 6-1, 6-4 win over John Kauss (So., St. Paul, Minn./Harding) at No. 3 singles.
Bryan and Brauer engaged in a pair of exciting matches at No. 1 and No. 2 singles. At No. 1, Bryan captured the first set from Lawrence Wang 7-5, but dropped the second set 6-2. The third-and-deciding set went to a tie-breaker at 6-6, with Wang taking the tie-breaker 7-3 and the match to give the Stags a 3-2 advantage in the dual. On the next court over, Brauer dropped the first set of his match with William Ellison 6-3, but rebounded to take the second set 6-4. Like Bryan, Brauer was forced into a third-set tie-breaker. This time, though, the Gusties emerged on the winning end as Brauer prevailed 7-5 in the tie-breaker to knot the dual at 3-3.
Michael Lim defeated Burdakin 7-5, 6-4 at No. 4 singles and Paukert topped Eric MacColl 6-3, 6-4 at No. 5 singles to tie the score at 4-4 and place all of the focus on the remaining match on the court. Trailing 7-5, 4-1 at No. 6 singles, Tomasek battled back to tie Oehm at 6-6 and send the second set into a tie-breaker. Tomasek led 4-2 in the breaker, but could not close out the set. Oehm captured five of the next six points to capture the straight-set victory.
Gustavus will face top-seeded and No. 1 Emory in the third place match at 9 a.m. Sunday morning. Emory was upended by UC-Santa Cruz 6-3 in the other semifinal.