Jeff Berman '14 (main photo), who was studying abroad until January and fashioned a 12-3 mark after his return, recovered from a 2-0 deficit and posted a 3-2 win at #7 during the last match of the day to secure a 5-4 upset victory for Wesleyan over #2-seed George Washington in the semifinals of the "C" (Summers) Division of the CSA National Championships Sat., Feb. 23. While Yale is the tournament host, Wesleyan was the venue for the match. Wesleyan reached the divisional final and took on top-seeded Middlebury for the title Sun., Feb. 24 at Yale. Wesleyan opened the year against Middlebury during a match played at MIT and the Panthers prevailed, 8-1. Since then, Wesleyan has gotten back both Berman and #1 player John Steele '14 (photo insert lower right), who also was studying abroad and was recenty named first-team all-NESCAC for the third straight year. Middlebury proved victorious once again, this time 7-2.
Also winning for Wesleyan vs. George Washington by 3-1 scores were #6 Ethan Moritz, #8 Blair Corbin '15 and #9 Raheem Logan '16. Corbin and Logan joined Berman as the three Cardinals who went 2-0 over the first two matches at Nationals. While Berman locked up the team win as the final match on the court, moments before in the third flight of matches, #4 Daniel Sneed '15 also captured an exciting 3-2 triumph as Wesleyan and George Washington had been tied, 3-3, after two sets of matches had been played on the three courts. GWU went ahead when Steele fell in his match, 3-1, but Sneed deadlocked the match at 4-4, winning 11-3 in the fifth game.
At #2, Guy Davidson '16 (photo insert upper right), recently named second-team all-NESCAC, suffered his first loss of the year at #2, dropping three tight games, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7. He finished 17-5 overall on the season, having gone 5-3 at #1 before Steele's return in January.
In the Cardinals' opening match at Nationals, Wesleyan pulled out a 5-4 win with Berman delivering the deciding triumph. Then against Middlebury, Wesleyan wins came from Steele (3-1) and #5 Zander Nassikas '14 (3-1). Four of the remaining seven Cardinals took a game from their Panther rival including Berman, Mortiz and Logan.
Seeded sixth in the division, Wesleyan finished second, four spots higher than its seed, and will gain a national ranking of 18th. In dual matches, the team posted a fine 15-8 mark, setting a program record for wins in a season. Both the 2011-12 and 2010-11 squads registered 14 victories as the previous high.
Steele represented Wesleyan in the CSA Individual National Championships hosted by Trinity Fri.-Sun. March 1-3. There, he went 3-1 in "B" Division, losing in the quarterfinals, 3-1, to Brown's #1 player who was seeded second. Before that, Steele knocked off Rochester's #8 player, 3-0; St. Lawrence's #3 player, 3-2; and Cornell's #6 player, 3-2.