Bates' Tandem of Stein and Rupasinghe Win NCAA Men's Tennis Doubles Title
Courtesy Bates Sports Information
CLAREMONT, Calif. - Bates College pair Ben Stein and Amrit Rupasinghe defeated rival Bowdoin College's duo Jamie Neely and Oscar Pena 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 for the NCAA Men's Tennis Doubles Championship on Sunday night at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
Just five minutes before midnight back in Maine, Bates clinched its first NCAA tennis doubles title, as Stein at net volleyed back a Bowdoin shot to win the final point, following a Rupasinghe serve, at 40-0.
For Bates, it is its second NCAA tennis crown overall (Will Boe-Wiegaard won the singles title in 2006) as well as its second NCAA championship ever in any sport other than track and field.
Prior to the doubles win on Sunday, Stein (unseeded, just as he and Rupasinghe were in the doubles draw) was defeated in the NCAA singles championship by Emory University's Chris Goodwin, Bates 7-5, 5-7, 6-1. Goodwin edged Stein in the first set, 7-5, and led 5-3 in the second set. Stein held serve to close the gap to 5-4, then broke Goodwin's serve to stay alive and tie the set up at 5-5. Stein rode the momentum to capture the next two games and win the set, 7-5, sending the match to a third set, which Goodwin won decisively. Stein finished the season 21-7 in singles play.
Stein (Pelham, N.Y.) and Rupasinghe (Colombo, Sri Lanka) defeated Washington University in St. Louis doubles team Charlie Cutler and Chris Hoeland 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-4 in the semifinals late Sunday afternoon. It was the second straight year the Bates pair has met and defeated the Washington University pair at NCAAs.
The doubles title finishes up an exhausting three days for Stein in particular. The senior, who played at No. 6 singles for Bates as a freshman, played five singles matches and four doubles matches in the three-day span of the singles and doubles championships, going 4-1 in singles and 4-0 in doubles. In all, he played 24 sets over the three days, including three tiebreakers.