On to Chattanooga! Men's tennis tops Southern Virginia, 5-3, to advance to NCAA quarterfinals

Jeffrey Chen delivers a backhand
Jeffrey Chen '22 (Photo by Steven Eckhoff)

ROME, Georgia – The Brandeis University men's tennis team earned the first quarterfinal berth in the 2021 NCAA Division III Championship tournament today as the Judges hung on to defeat Southern Virginia University, 5-3, at the Rome Tennis Center in Georgia. With the win, the Judges improve to 8-1 on the season and advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in program history. The Knights' most successful season comes to a close with a 13-6 mark.

"I'm so proud of how the guys competed today against a really solid Southern Virginia team. It was great to see poise in moment of pressure," said Brandeis head coach Pauri Pandian. "This group of players has been making team history for a number of years in a row now, and this is another step along that path. All of these guys are hungry to bring back a trophy from Chattanooga."

Brandeis took the lead after doubles for the seventh time in nine matches this season. They rolled at the top two spots with a pair of 8-2 wins. Senior Anupreeth Coramutla (Monroe Township, N.J./Phillips Andover) and junior Colt Tegtmeier (Madison, Wisc./James Madison Memorial) opened the scoring at #2, and juniors Jeffrey Chen (Northfield, Ill./New Trier) and Adam Tzeng (Eagle, Idaho/Eagle) followed suit at #1. Southern Virginia won a marathon match at #3, with Paul Monson and Benton Drake defeating Simon Kauppila (Chesterfield, Mo. / Marquette) and Rajan Vohra (Glen Head, N.Y./North Shore) 8-7 (9-7) in a match that took well over an hour.

In singles action, SVU's Marcos Dias avenged his doubles loss to Coramutla with a 6-1, 6-0, victory at #1 that tied things up at 2-2. Rookie Dylan Walters (Baltimore, Md./Gilman School) pushed Brandeis back on top at #5 with a 6-1, 6-4, triumph. Tegtmeier then got Brandeis to the brink of victory at #6 with a strong finish, winning the final four games for a 7-5, 6-4, win.

The Knights cut into the lead at #4 singles, where Daniel Blomquist knocked off Kauppila, 6-4, 6-1. With the Judges' #1 doubles team left on the courts, Chen improved to 6-0 this season in singles with the clinching win, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4, at #3. Tzeng led his opponent at #2, 6-3, 6-5, when the match ended.

This is Brandeis's second trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament and first since 1989. This will be their first trip the tournament quarterfinals. In head coach Pauri Pandian's second season at the helm, the Judges will advance to the Champions Tennis Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the quarters, which will start on Monday, May 24. Among the Judges' potential next opponents are University Athletic Association rivals Emory University, and Babson College, who is coached by former Brandeis assistant Mike Kopelman. Both teams were playing their second-round matches today.