The Gustavus men’s tennis team claimed its fourth Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division III Men’s Indoor Championship with a thrilling 5-4 win over #1 seed and defending champion UC-Santa Cruz on Sunday afternoon. The Gusties picked up two doubles wins and three singles victories to compile the five points necessary to win the match. Washington University, the #5 seed, defeated #2 seed Emory University, 7-2 to claim third place honors. The tournament was played at the Swanson Tennis Center on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College.
Gustavus jumped out to a 2-1 lead after doubles play as Mike Burdakin and John Kauss defeated Max Liberty-Point and Ilya Gendelman 8-4 at the #2 position and Ben Tomasek and Nick Hansen defeated Max Ortiz and Colin Mark-Griffin 8-2 at the #3 position. UC-Santa Cruz claimed one doubles point when Jared Kamel and Marc Vartabedian defeated Andy Bryan and Charlie Paukert 8-4.
In singles play, John Kauss defeated Max Ortiz 6-2, 6-4 at the #2 position to give the Gusties a 3-1 lead. UC-Santa Cruz’s Colin Mark-Griffin defeated Mike Burdakin 6-4, 6-4 at the #3 position to cut the lead to 3-2. Gustavus pushed its lead back to two points at 4-2, when Andy Bryan won a gruelling two-and-a-half hour match over Jared Kamel 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 at the #1 position. The Gusties picked up the decisive fifth point when Ben Tomasek defeated Marc Vartabedian 6-1, 6-3 at the #5 position. UC-Santa Cruz battled back to win #5 and #6 singles making the final score 5-4 in favor of Gustavus.
Gustavus claims its fourth ITA Division III Team Indoor Title in the eight-year history of the tournament (2002, 2003, 2006, 2008). The other four titles have been won by UC-Santa Cruz (2001, 2007) and Emory (2004, 2005). The Gusties defeated #6 seed Trinity (7-2), in the quarterfinals, #2 seed Emory (6-3) in the semifinals, and #1 seed UC-Santa Cruz (5-4) in the championship, to claim the title.