FREDERICKSBURG, Va. - The Whitman College men's tennis team continued to announce itself on the national stage with a 6-3 Sunday morning victory over the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va.
Whitman, ranked No. 29 in the NCAA Division III preseason, imposed its steely resolve on the 22nd-ranked Eagles in the opening round of doubles, winning two of three matches, and then followed that up by taking four of six battles in singles.
The victory capped an impressive weekend - and that's probably an understatement - for Whitman, which arrived on East Coast shortly before midnight on Friday, and then was up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to battle and subdue No. 23 Rhodes and Kalamazoo.
The three victories, each of which was collected in Mary Washington's indoor tennis facility, gives Whitman an early season record of 5-0 against NCAA DIII opponents (5-3 overall).
Look for Whitman, which also knocked off No. 6 UC-Santa Cruz by a 6-3 count earlier this month, to move up the national rankings when the next poll is released in early March.
Mary Washington, which also beat Rhodes and Kalamazoo on Saturday, gave Whitman all it could handle, especially in singles with the overall victory at stake.
Ahead 4-3, Whitman was in the hunt for the clinching fifth team point in the two singles matches still in progress.
After winning his first set 6-4 at No. 1 singles, Andrew La Cava saved a set point against Sam Wichlin to even the second set at 5-5.
La Cava then broke and held to take the next two games and seal the victory for Whitman.
A short time later, James Rivers outlasted Tyler Carey for a 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6) victory at No. 4 singles. Down 4-5 in the third set, Rivers rallied to force the a tie-breaker, where he saved three match points before claiming the victory.
Earlier in singles, Whitman notched wins at No. 5, where Sam Sadeghi stormed past Will Apperson 6-2, 6-1, and at No. 6, where Adriel Borshansky defeated Riley Baver 6-2, 6-3.
Whitman's two victories in doubles came in the No. 1 slot, where Conor Holton-Burke and Matt Tesmond out-pointed Evan Charles and Donato Rizzolo 8-6, and at No. 2, where La Cava teamed with Jeff Tolman for an 8-5 victory over Carey and Wichlin.
Sadeghi and Rivers came up short at No. 3 doubles, falling 8-4 to Baver and Kaleb Nguyen.
Mary Washington notched its team points in singles at No. 2, where Evan Charles downed Tolman 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), and at No. 3, where Alex Blakhin, a Moscow, Russia, downed Holton-Burke 6-3, 6-0.
Whitman returns home to host a pair of Northwest Conference matches next weekend. Pacific Lutheran comes to town at 4 p.m. Friday followed by Puget Sound at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Whitman, the four-time defending NWC champion, has won its last its last 79 NWC regular season matches.