Beaverton, Ore.- Playing with a sense of purpose after being denied the singles title they coveted, Whitman’s Andrew La Cava (Bellevue, WA) and James Rivers (Honolulu, HA) trounced their way to the USTA/ITA Fall Regional Northwest doubles on Monday with an impressive 6-0, 6-2 victory over teammates Matt Tesmond (Cincinnati, OH) and Andy Riggs(Auburn, CA).
After both Rivers and La Cava got eliminated from singles competition on Sunday morning, they played with frightening intensity in their quarterfinal and semifinal matches, notching a pair of 8-1 victories. Having a night to brood on their singles defeats did nothing to diminish their motivation. With the tournament championship on the line, the two Missionaries swarmed all over the court, pounced on even the best returns from Riggs and Tesmond, crushed any attempt at a defensive lob, and hit explosive returns in a first set that lasted no more than twenty minutes.
Tesmond, a defending champion, and Riggs didn’t go down without a fight, though. After surrendering two early breaks in the first set, they spent the latter part of the set experimenting with different strategies, trying to find something that would allow them to respond in the second. Early in the second, it looked like they might have found an answer. They won the first game of the second set by saving half a dozen break points in a long Riggs service game. After a quick Rivers hold, they fended off another three break points with Tesmond serving, and had chances to seize the game and momentum, but Rivers uncorked two gargantuan backhand returns to earn the break.
Tesmond and Riggs didn’t dwell long on that disappointment, immediately responding by breaking La Cava’s service to level the second set at 2-2. When they jumped out to a 40-15 lead in Riggs’ next service game, it appeared they had seized the momentum. It was not to be. La Cava cleverly passed Tesmond with his next return before Rivers unleashed another thundering backhand to level the game. Two points later, the Rivers and La Cava had broken Riggs’ serve to take the lead for good.
Three games later, La Cava and Rivers had polished off their tournament championship in the most dominating fashion in the history of the tournament. In five doubles matches, they lost just four games, and they should be a force to be reckoned with in a couple weeks when they travel to Mobile, AL for the ITA Fall National tournament, which will crown the Division III ITA National Doubles Champion.
On October 14th, they will play a play-in match against the winners of the USTA/ITA Fall Southwest Regional, and the winner of that match will earn a berth in a compass draw of eight other regional champions. Rivers is a first time champion, but La Cava is no stranger to the play-in matches. Two years ago, he won both the singles and doubles regional tournaments before falling in both play-in matches to opponents from Trinity University in Texas. Last year, he won the singles regional tournament and advanced past the play-in match with an impressive victory over Trinity’s Max Frey before finishing 6th in the country in the compass draw. This year, La Cava will look to advance past the play-in match in doubles for the first time.
This is another write up courtesy of Conor Holton-Burke