Tennis Pair Finishes 7th at NationalsBy Dan Wang
Last weekend, Jay Muelhoefer '94 and Nicholas Tsai '94 finished in seventh out of eight in the Division III tournament at the Rolex National Small College Tennis Championships, held at the University of Central Oklahoma. The result was somewhat disappointing, especially for Muelhoefer, who won the Division III doubles title last year with Alan Walpole '93.
The pair lost in the first round of both the main draw and the playoffs for positions 5-8, before winning its last match to secure its final standing.
The first loss came at the hands of Steve DeWeerd and John Knoester of Calvin College, 7-6, 6-2. In that match, the MIT team had many chances to take the lead, but could not do so. During one 7-game stretch neither team was able to hold serve, which is unusual in doubles.
The team from Calvin College later went on to the finals of the Division III tournament.
In the first match of the playoffs, Muelhoefer and Tsai dropped a 6-3, 7-6 decision to the team of Miroslav Beran and Carlos Nuno of Washington College. Both MIT players played better in the third match, in which they defeated Mark Faver and Wade Liles of Methodist College, by a score of 6-2, 7-6.
Coach Jeff Hamilton said that both Muelhoefer and Tsai could have played much better. "They really could have beaten any of the teams in the field," Hamilton stated.
"The weather played a factor in their playing. It was 70 degrees and windy the first day, then 30 degrees the next, which forced them to play indoors, which required some adjustments," Hamilton added.
Each of the contestants in the Rolex Nationals earned a place in the tournament by winning the preliminary Rolex Regional Small College Tennis Championships. Muelhoefer and Tsai made it to the national tournament by winning the doubles tournament at the New England Regional Championships, held in early October at MIT.
"While seventh out of eight doesn't sound too great, they really finished seventh out of two hundred-forty teams, which is something remarkable," Hamilton said.