La Cava, Rivers lose in tennis doubles finals

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Whitman College doubles team of James Rivers and Andrew La Cava wrapped up play Friday at the USTA/ITA Small College Tennis Championships with a loss in the finals, the tournament hosted by the Three Oaks Tennis Center.

Rivers and La Cava, who advanced to the finals for the second-straight year, lost in two sets to Brantner Jones and Palmer Campbell of Middlebury College in Vermont, the first set going to a tiebreaker after the teams were knotted at six games apiece. Jones and Campbell won the second set 6-1.

The Whitman duo reached the finals by winning two come-from-behind tiebreak matches in thrilling fashion.

In the opening round, Rivers and La Cava were edged in the first set 7-5 by Oliver Loutsenko and Danny Knight of Skidmore College of New York before bouncing back to take the second set 6-2. They then won the tiebreak 10-4.

In the semifinals, they again dropped the first set, this time6-3 to Ross Putterman and Jeremy Bush of Washington University in St. Louis. The Whitman pair turned right around and won the second set 6-3 and then outlasted Putterman and Bush in the tiebreak 12-10.

The Small College Championships features the winners of eight regional tournaments held across the country and several at-large berths.

Rivers and La Cava, after winning the Northwest Region championships two weeks ago, entered the national tournament as the No. 2-seeded team.

By virtue of advancing to the Small College Championships, the duo earns All-American status. La Cava also earned a berth in the singles draw — and All-American honors. He was eliminated in the earlier rounds.

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