Story by Mitch Blankespoor
KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Success in tennis is tradition at Kalamazoo College. In 2014, the men's and women's tennis teams continued that success by both winning Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) titles outright. The men won their 76th straight title while the women won their first outright conference title since 1995.
En route to its 84th conference title overall, the men's tennis team won all six conference matches dropping no more than one flight in each match. Freshman Branden Metzler played first singles for K most of the season and went 5-0 in conference matches. Seniors Peter Rothstein and Mike Korn also went unbeaten in MIAA play at second and third singles, respectively.
"It's great to win another championship and keep the streak alive," Head Men's Tennis Coach Mark Riley said. "As a group, we are excited to continue the legacy of our men's tennis program here at Kalamazoo College."
The women's team won its 41st MIAA title overall going 8-0 in league play. In perhaps one of the greatest tennis matches in conference history, the Hornets came from 4-2 down to defeat the two-time defending MIAA champions Hope College at the DeWitt Tennis Center in Holland. After its win over Hope, K rattled off the final five MIAA matches to clinch home court and the top seed in the upcoming MIAA Tournament. Sophomore Sarah Woods, who has been ranked in top 10 in the Central Region by itatennis.com all season, did not lose a match in conference play.
"It's been a great year for us going undefeated in conference play for the first time in seven years," Head Women's Tennis Coach Mark Murphy said. "The team has really come together well and we are looking forward to the conference tournament coming up this week."
The MIAA Tournament Murphy speaks of is scheduled to take place May 1-2. The women will host Saint Mary's College (Ind.) Thursday at noon. Weather permitting; the match will take place at Stowe Stadium.
"[Mark] Murphy has been here five years and has changed to culture of the team," said Riley about the women's tennis program. "It's helpful for us because now the guys have some competition on campus to continue to do well."
The men's team will also host a semifinal round as the Hornets play Albion College Thursday at 4 p.m. Kalamazoo looks to clinch the MIAA's automatic berth in the NCAA III Men's Tennis Championships; a tournament K has participated in every year since its inception in 1976.
"It is a lot of fun for the women's program to have as much success as the men's program," said Murphy. "We anticipate and look forward to sending two teams from Kalamazoo to the NCAA III Tournament."