Hopkins Falls to Emory in NCAA Quarterfinals
The 13th-ranked Johns Hopkins men's tennis team lost a heartbreaker Monday, falling 5-4 to second-ranked and undefeated Emory in the NCAA Quarterfinals. The Blue Jays rallied from an early 2-1 deficit to tie the match at four apiece before falling at the Cary Tennis Center. The Blue Jays end their season, the best in program history, with a 19-5 record and the team's first ever appearance in the NCAA Elite 8. The Eagles move on to the NCAA Semifinals with a 23-0 record.
Hopkins, which had won a school-record-tying 15 matches entering the contest, took the first point of the match. Juniors Andy Hersh and Jeff Kamei put the Blue Jays on top early with an 8-3 win at second doubles over Ian Wagner and Elliot Kahler. But Dillon Pottish and Brian Kowalski tied the match as they won 8-2 over freshmen Tanner Brown and Erik Lim at third. Chris Goodwin and Will Humphreys then wrapped up doubles with an 8-4 win at first over seniors Jacob Barnaby and Warren Elgort to send Emory into singles action with a 2-1 lead.
Pottish pushed the Eagles' lead in the match to 3-1 as he beat Hersh 6-1, 6-0, at first singles. Hopkins answered with wins at second and third to tie the match at three apiece. Brown (pictured) was a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Goodwin at second, avenging his loss earlier this season to Goodwin. The win was Brown's 21st of the season, tying the program record for wins by a freshman. Freshman Ben Hwang followed with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Wagner at third to pull the Blue Jays even with the Eagles. But Kowalski put Emory back on top as he beat freshman Jensen Reiter 7-6 (3), 6-1 at fourth.
The match would come down to five and six, two thrillers that had both teams' fans on the edge of their seats. Lim won his first set easily, 6-2, over Alex Ruderman. He fell behind 5-2 in the second set before rallying to win 7-6 (2) to take the match in straight sets. The win avenged Lim's March loss to Ruderman and more importantly, tied the match at four points apiece. Meanwhile on court five, Eric Halpern took the first set over Elgort, 6-2. But Elgort rebounded to win the second set 6-4 and force a deciding set. Elgort was up 4-1 in the third when Halpern took a medical timeout. When play resumed, he rallied to win 6-4 and clinch the win for Emory.