Men's tennis pushes No. 4 Bowdoin to the limit in home finale

Ben Eckardt and the Bates men's tennis team fell 5-3 to No. 4 nationally ranked Bowdoin in Merrill Gymnasium on April 23, 2019. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates men's tennis team had rival and No. 4 nationally ranked Bowdoin tied 3-3 before the visiting Polar Bears' three-set victory at fourth singles clinched a 5-3 victory Tuesday in Merrill Gymnasium, in the Bobcats' final home match of the season.

Bates (5-10, 3-3 NESCAC) earned points at No. 3 doubles, No. 2 singles and No. 3 singles in its bid for the upset.

Bowdoin (13-3, 5-2 NESCAC) took two out of three doubles matches for a 2-1 lead. Grant Urken and Jerry Jiang defeated Bates senior captains Josh Quijano (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Duane Davis (Dix Hills, N.Y.) 8-4 at first doubles, and Justin Wang and Evan Fortier defeated Bates junior Nick Glover (Austin, Texas) and senior Ben Eckardt (Montgomery, N.J.) 8-5 at second doubles.

But at third doubles, Bates junior Jacob Kauppila (Chesterfield, Mo.) and sophomore Alex Kennedy (New York, N.Y.) defeated Justin Patel and Oscar Yang 8-5, rising to 3-1 as a No. 3 doubles pair.

Eckardt tied the match 2-2 as he finished off a 6-2, 6-4 win over Wang at No. 3 singles. Bowdoin regained a one-point lead as Patel defeated Kennedy in straight sets at fifth singles.

But Kauppila went on to defeat Yang 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 at No. 2 singles, his eighth straight singles victory, raising his individual record to 10-2 on the season and tying the match at 3-3.

The Polar Bears then finished off back-to-back third-set victories to clinch the win. Jiang defeated Quijano at No. 1 singles 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, and Fortier scored the decisive fifth point with his 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 decision over Bates junior Jacob Eisenberg (Armonk, N.Y.). The match was played to decision, leaving Duane Davis's No. 6 singles match against Alan Delman unfinished.

Bates will next play at Tufts Wednesday at 3pm, followed by a Sunday 2pm match at Williams.