FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BATES MEN'S TENNIS EARNS NCAA TOURNAMENT BERTH
LEWISTON, Maine - The Bates College men's tennis team has earned a berth in the NCAA Division III tournament as the eighth seed in the East region. The Bobcats (8-2) travel to Williamstown, Mass., to face top-seeded Williams College (12-2) May 13 at noon.
Bates will be making its second appearance in the NCAA tournament after debuting in 1996. The Bobcats placed second at the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championships at Middlebury College April 30. Their only higher finish came in 1988, head coach Paul Gastonguay '89's junior year at Bates, when they claimed the conference title.
The Bobcats are led by senior Dmitri Kudrjavtsev of Tallinn, Estonia, at No. 1 singles. Kudrjavtsev (10-6 in the spring) was ranked 11th in the East region in the most recent Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings. He was the runner-up at the State of Maine tennis championships at Colby May 5-6. The Bobcats' only other senior among the top six players is David Carlson of Ramsey, N.J., the NESCAC champion at No. 6 singles. Carlson boasts an 11-3 record this spring.
"This year's schedule was very demanding and the team was up to the challenge," said Gastonguay. "We knew that we were a strong team, but after beating [nationally-ranked] Salisbury State and finishing No. 2 at NESCAC's, we have proven that we belong with the elite teams in the league. The players thrive on big matches - and this is the biggest match of the year. I know our players will meet the challenge."
Williams, the Bobcats' first-round opponent, is the defending NCAA champion. The Ephs won the NESCAC title this season by capturing five of the six singles flights and two of three doubles flights. Sophomore Josh Lefkowitz, the Ephs' No.1 player, is also the top-ranked player in the East.
The winner of the Williams-Bates match will face the winner of the match between No. 4 Trinity and No. 5 Bowdoin, also being held at Williams. The winner of the regional advances to Kalamazoo (Mich.) College May 19-21 for the finals.
The complete NCAA Division III men's tennis tournament bracket is available via the World Wide Web at http://www.ncaachampionships.com.