UCSC Wins ITA National Title

February 22, 2010

ST. PETER, MINN. — Top-seeded and top-ranked UC-Santa Cruz captured its third ITA National Division III Men’s Team Indoor title with a convincing 6-2 victory over Washington University in the 2010 championship hosted by Gustavus Adolphus College. Gustavus Adolphus has hosted the 10th-annual championship for the eighth consecutive year at the Swanson Tennis Center. In addition to four-time event champion and tournament host Gustavus, seven of the top 11 ranked teams in Division III squared off to determine the team indoor champion.

ITA Division III National Men’s Team Indoor Championship: First Round

#1 UC-Santa Cruz 5, #8 Carnegie Mellon University 4

#4 Kenyon College 8 , #5 Gustavus Adolphus College 1

#3 Washington University 8, #6 Johns Hopkins 1

#2 Emory University 6, #7 DePauw University 3

ITA Division III National Men’s Team Indoor Championship: Semifinals

#1 UC-Santa Cruz 5, #4 Kenyon College 4

#3 Washington University 5, #2 Emory University 4

ITA Division III National Men’s Team Indoor Championship: Final

#1 Santa Cruz 6, Washington University 2

After all four of the top seeds advanced with quarterfinal victories, top-seeded UC-Santa Cruz and Washington University avenged upset losses from last year’ event to advance to the finals, in a matchup that pitted the 2008 NCAA Division III Champion, Washington, against the 2009 NCAA Division III Champion, UC-Santa Cruz.

Even though this year’s champs, UC-Santa Cruz, do not play indoors very often, they have shown the ability to play as good indoors as anyone in the country winning their third event title in their seventh finals appearance. The seven finals appearances are the most of any school in the history of the event. This was also the fifth time in the past six years UCSC has made it to the finals advancing four straight years from 2005 through 2008.

“This event is a great opportunity for our guys to get some experience playing indoors against the best competition in the country”, said UC-Santa Cruz Head Coach Bob Hansen. “We travelled up to the Pacific Northwest last week and that was the first time one of our guys had travelled outside of California. We played indoors there and I really believe that gave our team a good chance to familiarize themselves with playing indoors and definitely boosted their belief that they could come in here and win.” “I can’t believe we actually won, — I’m still pinching myself right now, actually”, Hansen joked. “We played three outstanding teams that each gave us a good shot at beating us. I would have been happy just to have made it out of the first round!”

This may sound like an odd thing to say when talking about a team that just won their second NCAA Division III team title in three years, just nine months ago. However, in that nine months, the Slugs lost their top five singles players from their championship squad.

“Our No. 6 guy from the [championship] team is playing No. 2 singles for us now”, explained Hansen. “We still have a long road to travel to have a chance to defend our title but I’m proud of the way this team is coming together.”

The road wasn’t easy for the Slugs as they had to stave off strong challenges from Carnegie Mellon and Kenyon with 6-3 and 5-4 victories in the first two rounds of play. But for the second straight match, UCSC did what they do best – sweeping the competition in doubles. In fact, Santa Cruz swept all 15 of their doubles matches in 2009 dual match competition.

The fifth-ranked doubles team of Marc Vartabedian and Brian Pybas got UCSC on the scoreboard with a convincing 8-2 victory over the No. 3 ranked team of juniors Isaac Stein and Max Woods. An 8-4 win at second doubles and an 8-5 victory at No. 3 pushed the lead to 3-0.

Washington’s John Watts, the Division III Singles Champion at the 2009 ITA Small College Championships, got the Bears on the board, rebounding from his loss in the semifinals to post a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Pybas at No. 1 to trim the advantage to 3-1. Erich Koenig got the Banana Slugs one point from the championship with a hard-fought, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 victory over freshman Adam Putterman at No. 3.

Another three-set victory by UC-Santa Cruz sealed the victory for the NCAA defending national champions, as Marc Vartabedian upended Stein at No. 2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.

This marked the second-consecutive runner-up finish for the Bears, as Washington U. dropped a 6-3 decision to Emory University in 2009.

Also taking place Sunday morning was the tournament’s third place match in which 2009 champion Emory University, edged No. 4 seed Kenyon, 5-4. In Saturday night’s fifth and seventh place matches, Johns Hopkins and DePauw posted victories over Carnegie Mellon and Gustavus Adolphus, respectively.

No. 1 UC-Santa Cruz 6, No. 3 Washington University 2


Order of finish (doubles): 1, 2, 3


Order of finish (singles): 1, 3, 2, 4, 5,

First Round Matchup: No. 1 UC-Santa Cruz def. No. 8 Carnegie Mellon, 5-4

Semifinal Matchup: No. 1 UC-Santa Cruz def. No. 4 Kenyon, 5-4

Final Matchup: No. 1 UC-Santa Cruz def. No. 3 Washington University, 6-2

For complete results and event information, visit