For Casey Grindon, the second time's the charm. After losing in the singles final of last weekend's Stony Brook Invitational to teammate Chris Lord '14, the sophomore came back with a vengeance and won his doubles bracket alongside Alex Jacobs '12.
The men's tennis team put up an impressive showing across the board, as Bowdoin won two of the six flights. The eight-team field featured not only defending D-III champion Middlebury but also D-II national semifinalist Concordia and four D-I teams. Stony Brook was the final competition of the year, and the team looks to be in good shape heading into the spring season.
In A-Flight singles, Sam King '14 lost in the first round, while captain Stephen Sullivan '11 won his first round match but lost to the bracket's eventual winner, Concordia's Andrey Boldarev, 6-2, 6-3 in the second round.
Teammates at Brentwood High School in Los Angeles, Grindon and Lord dominated the B-Flight singles. After both players fought their way through the bracket, Lord won by a score of 2-6, 6-4, 10-4. Lord brought two of his first three matches to three sets and Grindon held on to win a tight second-round match 7-6(4), 5-7, 10-7.
"Although I lost to Chris, we had a competitive match," said Grindon. "The fact that two Bowdoin students made the final is great for our tennis program, and hopefully [this] match will make us both better for the upcoming season."
Coach Colin Joyner '03 said, "I was happy to see some big tennis come out of Chris and Casey in this tournament. It brought out their high level of [play], which I hadn't seen from either of them yet this year."
The three Bowdoin competitors in the C-Flight singles all won their first matches and lost their second. Captain Michael Power '11 won 8-0 before being shut out himself in straight sets, while first years Eric Chien and Peter Davis also lost their second round matches in two sets. Power's and Davis' opponents, both from Concordia, faced each other in the finals of the bracket.
The D-Flight singles did not go too well for Bowdoin. Captain Josh Roer '11 and Jacobs both lost their first-round matches, while R.B. Grissa '14 lost in the second after a first-round win. Grissa and Middlebury's Johann Riefkohl split their first two sets 6-4, 1-6, but the latter won the third 10-4.
For the second year in a row, a Bowdoin team won a doubles bracket (Oscar Pena '12 and Jamie Neely '10 won the A Flight in 2009). Jacobs and Grindon were the B-Flight victors after beating Middlebury's Chris Schlabach and Alex Parower in the finals.
Bowdoin entered two doubles pairs in the tournament's A Flight. Sullivan and King won their first two matches to make it to the semifinals, where they lost 6-8 to eventual bracket champions Boldarev and Piludu of Concordia. Roer and Lord lost 2-8 in the first round to the Concordia team of Bazula and Dobrotka, who later lost in the finals.
In the B Flight of doubles play, Bowdoin's three pairings encountered different results. Davis and Grissa, along with Chien and Josh Cranin '12, lost in the first round. However, Jacobs and Grindon won the bracket with relatively little difficulty, winning all four matches by scores no worse than 8-5.
"Alex got stronger and more commanding every match," said Joyner. "He is a big athletic guy with a huge lefty serve, and when he gets confident on court he is tough to beat."
Grindon ended his season on a high note and is pleased with the way the team played.
"These fall tournaments helped us figure out where we are talent-wise and what we need to work on for the spring," he said. "Everybody learned valuable lessons from their matches this season, and we now know what we need to work [during the] off-season for us to get to the next level."
The team has four players currently abroad, and when they join the athletes returning from the fall, they expect to do great things. The Polar Bears will be looking to build off a successful fall season and regain their NESCAC title from three years ago.