KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Despite winning the opening set, Case Western Reserve University's No. 1 tandem of senior Nicolas Howe (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shaker Heights) and junior John Healey (Columbia, Md./Altholton) lost in the opening round of the 2013 NCAA Division III Men's Tennis Doubles Championship on Thursday evening at the Markin Center.
Matches were moved indoors due to inclement weather throughout the day, and doubles contests were delayed more than three hours.
Howe and Healey fell by scores of 6-3, 6-7 (2-6) and 4-6 versus senior Elliot Kahler and sophomore Ian Wagner of University Athletic Association foe Emory University (Ga.).
The Spartan tandem fell behind 1-0 in the first set but came back with four-straight games en route to the win. The crucial point came when Howe and Healey fought off two break points to hold serve and make the score 5-2.
In the second, Howe and Healey grabbed a 4-2 advantage before Kahler and Wagner rallied for three games in a row. The two sides traded games from there to lead to a tie-breaker set that Emory won 6-2.
In the decisive third set, Kahler and Wagner led 3-1 before Howe and Healey battled out of a 40-0 hole to win their second game. The Emory duo won two of the next three to lead 5-3, but the Spartan pair refused to go away by fighting off two match points to get within 5-4. However, Kahler and Wagner were able to win the match point on their next attempt.
Kahler and Wagner entered the match ranked second in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Atlantic South Region.
Ranked fourth in the ITA Central Region, Howe and Healey end their season at 10-7 overall.
Tonight's loss brings an official end to a historic season for the No. 14 nationally-ranked Spartans (22-7). The squad finished the year in the second round of the NCAA Championship Tournament, reached as high as No. 7 in the national rankings, and earned the first team berth to the NCAA Championship in program history. Led by Wilson/ITA Central Region Coach of the Year Todd Wojtkowski, Case also shattered the school record for wins.