Courtesy of Wesleyan Sports Information
BALTIMORE, Md. – The Wesleyan men's tennis team is headed to Michigan, as they booked a spot in the NCAA Quarterfinals with a 5-2 win over Kenyon on Sunday. The Cardinals took a 2-1 lead after doubles with wins at No. 1 and No. 2 and in singles jumped out to a 4-1 advantage thanks to quick victories from Andrew Finkelman and Noah Lilienthal. Kenyon would make a comeback push with a win at No. 2, but the Cardinals clinched the match at No. 4, where Adrian Roji put an end to the five-hour competition with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph.
Wesleyan will see a similar foe in the NCAA Quarterfinals next week, as they take on NESCAC rival Middlebury for the third time this season. The Cardinals topped the Panthers 6-3 on April 6th, before Middlebury avenged the loss with a 5-3 victory in the conference semifinals.
With the victory, the Cardinals advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals for the second time in three years, as Kenyon finishes the season with a 19-4 overall mark. Wesleyan advanced to the Regional Final blanking John Carroll 5-0, while the Lords topped Johns Hopkins 5-2.
- At No. 1, Roji and Lilienthal were forced to stay tough deep into the match, as their 5-2 lead evaporated and they found themselves in a tight battle. As they have done all year, the duo executed well in the biggest moments, coming through for an 8-5 win for the first point of the day.
- Princeton Carter and Jonathan Holtzman brought an unparalleled level of energy and intensity at No. 2, refusing to lose with tenacity and grit, eventually earning them an 8-6 victory.
- The No. 3 doubles match went back-and-forth for the entire match, with neither team able to take a clear lead. Finkelman and Marcus Sweeney came up just short in the end, falling in a tiebreaker 10-8.
- Wesleyan's first singles point came in a hurry, as Lilienthal played relentless tennis in a 6-1, 6-0 triumph at No. 3.
- Finkelman and Kenyon's Jake Zalenski had a long battle in their previous match in March, but this time around Finkelman was at another level, turning what was an even match into a straightforward one, taking it 6-3, 6-2 to put Wesleyan on the brink of victory.
- At No. 2, Peter Anker dropped a quick first set, before making necessary adjustments to turn things around in the second, bringing the match to a decider. In the third set, Anker was two points away from winning the match three separate times, but was unable to finish it off, falling by the slimmest of margins 6-2, 2-6, 7-6(2) to keep Kenyon alive in the match.
- With the Cardinals down a set at No. 5 and in a tight opening set at No. 6, all eyes were on Roji at No. 4. The sophomore won a solid first set, but in the second, things stayed close. With the match on the line, Roji stepped up, serving it out at 5-4 in the second to clinch to match and advance Wesleyan to the NCAA Quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph.