Courtesy of Goucher Athletic Communications
MIDDLEBURY, Vermont – For Goucher College it's not every day that you can say that you battled the defending national champions in a sport. The Gopher men's tennis team made a valiant effort in the NCAA Division III Men's Tennis Championships second round against sixth-ranked Middlebury College on Friday.
Senior Elliot Diehl played his final collegiate match and will leave as the first player in Goucher College history to never have not advanced to the NCAA Division III Championships or win a Landmark Conference Championships. Diehl earned the point in his final collegiate game with a winner to send the game to 40-15 and then had two returns before his doubles match with teammate Frankie Mullinix ended when the ball tipped off the net and bounced on the Goucher side for a winner for the Panthers in the 8-0 No. 2 match.
Diehl, who finished his career 45-26 in singles and 57-28 record in tandem play, won his final singles match 6-1, 6-0 to clinch a 5-0 victory against Susquehanna University in the Landmark Conference semifinals on April 30. Senior Josiah Meekins will also leave as a four-time champion with a 24-8 record in singles and 36-14 in doubles in his career.
Diehl and Mullinix were the first team to fall in the second round of the NCAA Championships on Friday before Tetsuya Ota and Michael Herman dropped an 8-2 match at No. 1 doubles. Slade Dumas and Omosesan Adebamgbe, who were the first doubles team to finish in the Landmark Conference Championship match and the NCAA Championships first round match against Baruch College on Thursday with 8-0 decisions, were the last group to wrap up at No. 3 singles with an 8-3 loss.
Ota lost 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 singles and Adebamgbe fell 6-0, 6-0 at No. 4 singles to clinch the Panthers victory.
Herman was trailing 6-0, 2-0 at No. 2 singles and Mullinix was down 6-0, 1-0 at No. 3 singles when the match was halted. Dumas just got on the court and was trailing 1-0 at No. 5 singles and Brian Kane started but did not finish a game before the match was called in a 5-0 win for the defending national champions.
Goucher, who was making its fourth straight and fifth overall NCAA Division III Championship appearance, advanced to the second round for the third time in four seasons and now have a 3-5 record on the national stage.
Diehl also finishes his career with three NCAA Championships doubles wins and one singles victory. Herman has two singles and two doubles wins on the national stage while Dumas, Mullinix and Ota each have two doubles wins in the national postseason. Adebamgbe picked up his first doubles and singles wins in the NCAA Championships while Dumas and Kane each notched their first singles wins on the big stage.
Goucher finished 18-6 overall and 7-0 in the Landmark Conference under first year head coach and Landmark Conference Coach of the Year Eric Spangler. With the exception of Diehl and Meekins, the rest of the four-time defending conference champions should return in 2019-20. Dumas, Herman and Mullinix will try and match the feat of Diehl and Meekins with four titles in all four years, but it will also be the first time that there will not be someone with a link to the first championship in the run.