Yellow Jersey Feb 12, 2013

Congratulations to Matt Tesmond for being named by his teammates as the wearer of the yellow jersey! Everyone mentioned his thrilling come from behind victory against LCSC. After being down 1-5 in the 3rd Matt showed a ton of fortitude and effort to reel off 6 straight games to take the match 7-5 in the 3rd. Matt has put in a great effort in the on the court, classroom and on campus. Its been wonderful to see Matt turn into a greater leader!

Matt thanks for helping us live life well!

JAVA (James and La Cava) Dominate the Regional ITA Doubles Draw

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 […]

By |September 27th, 2012|2012-2013 season|0 Comments

NWC Tournament Champions!

Over the weekend we capped off a perfect NWC season by sweeping the NWC Mens Tennis Tournament without a dropping a set. On Saturday we defeated Whitworth 5-0 and on Sunday in front of a large boisterous crowd we defeated George Fox 5-0. The victory over Fox was especially sweet for the team as earlier in the year we defeated Fox 6-3 and were down 1-2 after the doubles. Yesterday we knew it would be key to get off to a fast start and enter the singles with a lead. At #3 doubles James Rivers and Sam Sadeghi came out on fire and put us on the board first with a quick 8-1 victory. This was especially gratifying for Sam and James as earlier in the year they lost to the same doubles team 8-1. At #2 doubles Jeff Tolman and Andrew La Cava started slow and were down a break at 3-4 before winning the next 5 games. And at #1 Conor Holton-Burke and Matt Tesmond gave us a sweep of the doubles with a solid 8-5 victory. This was the same team that beat them 8-5 earlier in the year.

In singles Jeff got off to a slow start going down 0-2 (and down break points) before finding his rhythm and winning 11 straight games! His 6-2, 6-1 victory not only put us up 4-0 but was his 100 career victory — welcome to the Century Club! Senior Conor Holton-Burke sealed the match for us with a wonderful 6-2, 6-0 match. Earlier in the year Conor lost to the same opponent in three sets. What a sweet day for the senior– his match seals the the NWC tournament and he defeats they only NWC […]

Conor gets NWC Player of the Week

WALLA WALLA, Wash. — For the third time this season and fifth time in the past two years, Whitman College senior Conor Holton-Burke has been named Northwest Conference Student Athlete of the Week for men’s tennis.

Holton-Burke, the reigning NWC Player of the Year, notched four more victories on Sunday as Whitman shut out two more conference opponents to extend its winning streak this spring to 18 straight matches.

With Holton-Burke teaming with junior Matt Tesmond for two wins at No. 1 doubles, Whitman took charge of both Sunday road matches with a sweep in the opening round of doubles.

Playing his fourth match of the day, Holton-Burke capped his busy Sunday with a 4-6, 6-3, 11-9 victory over Willamette’s Joshua Wong at No. 1 singles. Wong was voted to the All-NWC First Team in each of the past two seasons.

Earlier on Sunday, Holton-Burke played No. 2 singles at Linfield, winning 6-1, 6-2.

As part of a talented Whitman team that has risen to No. 9 in the NCAA Division III national rankings, Holton-Burke has bounced between the top three spots in singles this spring, compiling a 14-5 record overall.

He is 14-6 in doubles while playing all but two of his matches with Tesmond.

In terms of career wins, Holton-Burke shot past the 100-victory plateau early this season. He is nearing 120 career wins as the end of the regular season approaches.

Ranked No. 1 in the West Region, Whitman is 18-3 on the season and 11-0 in the NWC. It can complete its sixth straight undefeated NWC season by beating Lewis & Clark this Saturday.

Whitman has already clinched a fifth-straight conference title and the No. 1 seed at the NWC post-season tournament April 21-22. Whitman will host that four-team […]

Tesmond Volley

Whitties knock down PLU 8-1

What an interesting start to a match. At 4pm the weather was beautiful — highs in the 60’s and clear blue skies. However as the match progressed Mother Nature decided to get into the act and kicked in some high winds. You know the wind is bad when you need to pick up twigs and broken branches off the court on change-overs. The wind certainly added to the excitement of #3 doubles as Steven Roston and Will Huskey played one of the more thrilling tiebreaks I have witnessed. In the end the PLU #3 got the upper hand winning 14-12 in the tie-breaker! As a team we managed to gain a 2-1 lead after the doubles with Matt and Conor winning 8-6 at #1 and Andrew and James winning 8-1 at #2.

With the gutsy winds and drop in temperature we decided to move the singles indoors. Our past weekends of intense competition have certainly sharpened everyone’s game as we cruised through the match without dropping a set. Singles match of the day goes to Will Huskey who overcame a break in the 2nd set to win 7-5, 7-6.

Interesting stat of the day — Conor now sits at 98 wins! Today when we play UPS he has a chance to join the exclusive Whitman Tennis Century Club! Looks like high winds will force our 1pm match against UPS indoors. Those in Walla Walla should drop by the courts to watch us try to knock down the Loggers.
Whitman 8 PLU 1

Conor Holton-Burke/Matt Tesmond def Ah Yat/Dickey 8-6
James Rivers/Andrew La Cava def Cotton/Olson 8-1
Steven Roston/Will Huskey lost Berg/Herron 9-8 (14-12)


Conor Holton-Burke def Ah Yat 6-4, 6-3
James Rivers def Cotton 6-2, 6-2
Adriel Borshansky def Dickey 6-1, 6-0
Steven Roston […]

Wow what a match — Whitties Defeat #22 Mary Washington

Sorry for the delay in getting to this post but the past couple days have been a whirlwind. After a long day of travel we are safely back on campus and ready for classes. All the guys on the team should be ready for early classes this week — after a week of trying to set our biologic clocks to east coast time and spending a few days on the east coast everyone should be wide awake early this morning! This past week has given me an appreciation for athletes that constantly travel across time zones and are able to maintain a peak level of performance.

On Sunday we started our match against Mary Washington at 11:30am. I’m sure the extra couple hours of sleep and playing at more “normal” time had something to do with our high level of  play. Even though we spent the previous week practicing at 6:30am in hopes of getting a head start on the time change it wasn’t quite the same as being up early to eat breakfast, warm-up and starting matches at 6am (pacific time).  On Saturday we started our day at 3:45am pacific time!

I believe during the Mary Washington match I tweeted “the match was awesome” and it was an awesome match. In fact several times Coach Todd Hebling and I would meet between courts and chat about the high level and intensity of the play. This is the type of match I would love to play every week– great play, physical points, outcome in doubt and each player/team making each other better.

Doubles was a close affair up and down the line-up. Fortunately for us at #1 Conor and Matt finally found their groove midway through the pro-set […]

Whitties defeat #6 Santa Cruz 6-3

Apologies for typos and grammatically errors with this post. As I write this post its almost 1am and its been a long day. First off big thanks to the 100’s of students who came out to watch the match. Playing in front of such a large crowd doesn’t happen often in tennis and it is experience that we will all savor for years to come.

In doubles we came out strong in all three doubles, but the play of Conor/Matt at #1 was special. How special..they defeated a very good #1 team from Santa Cruz 8-1! Number 2 and 3 were both close with Whitties taking early breaks in both matches only to have Santa Cruz break back. At #2 Jeff and Andrew came back from a late break to reel off 3 straight game to take the match 8-6. At #3 freshman James Rivers and junior Sam Sadeghi traded breaks back and forth with the Cruz team — James and Sam both returned great and I think they have break points in every game but one. In the end they broke to clinch the doubles sweep 9-7.

Before the singles we had a team meeting discussing how important it was to play with confidence and to expect a major battle. UC Santa Cruz has one of the finest traditions in DIII and we all knew they were going to compete hard. One thing I must add that we have had some terrific playing opportunities the past 5-6 years (for example the NCAA’s, Stag-Hen and great spring breaks) and those opportunities have let us gain valuable experience as a program. These lessons are passed down from player to player and indeed year to year. Its really […]

Great match against DI Gonzaga

Today we had a heck of a battle against DI Gonzaga. Even though GU won 6-1 (we used DI scoring) the match was very competitive. Doubles match of the day goes to Conor/Matt at #1 — they saved 3 match points to post a 9-8 (7-0) victory. At #2 Jeff/Andrew got down an early break and never recovered losing 6-8. And at #3 the freshman duo of Colton/James were up a break at 4-1 before losing a heartbreaker 9-7.

In singles our only victory was #3 where Jeff played very solid tennis winning 7-6, 6-4. Will (#4) continued his strong play dropping a hard fought match 6-2, 5-7, 11-9. James (#5) also dropped a close three set match 2-6, 6-4, 10-7. Interesting that yesterday we won two third set matches and today we dropped both of the 3rd set matches.

Tomorrow we wrap up our Hawaii swing with a free day. Lots of sunshine, beach time, and exploring before we head back for the start of a new semester.

Whitman 1 Gonzaga 6

1 Matt/Conor def Oliver Jamin/Alvaro Nazel 9-8

2. Jeff/Andrew lost Scott Sullivan/Zhia Hwa Chong 8-6

3. James/Colton lost Levin Guillermo/Muzeen Ismath

1. Andrew lost Nazal 6-4, 6-0

2. Conor lost Guillermo 6-0, 6-2

3. Jeff def Jamin 7-6, 6-4

4. Will lost Mijatovic 6-2, 5-7, 11-9

5. James lost Sullivan 2-6, 6-4, 10-7

6. Colton lost Chong 6-1, 7-5


Whitties defeat nationally ranked Hawaii Pacific

First off what an amazing week. We are so fortunate to be able to make this Hawaiian trip prior to the start of the school year. We have had some great practices and bonding time that will make us stronger and create tighter team bonds. Major thanks to the Rivers family. They have gone above and beyond in hosting us this week — amazing accommodations, support, and unbelievable food — from breakfast, lunch to dinner. Simply amazing!

Today we started off our season against Hawaii Pacific University (ranked #22 in DII).  I was incredibly happy with the maturity and competitive spirit of the team. Honestly this might be one of the most mature wins I have seen out of a Whitman team. The guys battled from start to finish and never panicked (even when down 3-4). (more…)