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National title caps off perfect season for tennis team

The 5-3 decision over the Kenyon Lords closed out the Eagles' season record at 25-0.

The Emory men's tennis  team earned the program's third national crown Wednesday afternoon as it rallied for a victory over Kenyon College in the title match of the Division III Men's Tennis Championships. The 5-3 decision over the Lords closed out the Eagles' season record at 25-0 while Kenyon finished at 24-5. The Division III Championships were held in Cary, North Carolina.

Emory dropped the first two points of the match as the Lords' Nos. 2 and 1 doubles teams each came away with 8-6 victories.  The Eagles then perhaps had their season saved when the No. 3 tandem of senior Dillon Pottish and freshman Brian Kowalski scrapped to a 9-8 outcome against Paul Burgin and Kevin Ye, rallying from a 4-6 deficit in the tie-breaker en route to escaping with an 8-6 advantage in the breaker. The outcome raised their spring mark to an unblemished 15-0.

Buoyed by the inspired play of it No. 3 doubles team, Emory tied the match when freshman Ian Wagner registered an impressive  6-1, 6-4 decision over C.J. Williams at No. 3 singles, his 21st victory in 24 decisions this spring. The Lords regained the lead after the conclusion of No. 2 singles when Michael Razumovsky topped Chris Goodwin in straight sets. Freshman Alex Ruderman knotted the contest at 3-3 after carving out a decisive 6-1, 6-3 triumph over Ye at six singles,  upping his spring record to 20-1 (18-1 at No. 6).   A little more than three and one-half hours into the match, the Eagles took their first lead of the day when Kowalski notched a 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 verdict over Wade Heerboth. With Pottish in the third set of his battle against Burgin at No. 1 singles and freshman Eric Halpern going up against Tim Rosensteel at No. 5, it was Halpern who sealed the  deal for the Eagles, assuring that the championship trophy would be heading back to Atlanta, with a 7-5, 7-5 win, his 20th in 22 outings this spring.

The team's final ledger of 25-0 marks the first time in school history that an Emory team had  compiled a perfect record. The 2012 squad joins the 2003 and 2006 Emory teams who have come away with the national championship, all of which have come under the watch of 13th-year head coach John Browning. 

While the team portion of the Championships has concluded, Dillon Pottish and Chris Goodwin are scheduled to compete in the singles portion of the event. Singles action begins at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday with Pottish playing Oliver Loutsenko of Skidmore while Goodwin's opening-round opponent will be Nicholas Ballou of Cal Lutheran.

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