Date Posted:01/20/2002, 8:00AM
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Led by outstanding comeback performances by freshmen Geordie ?DJ? MacLeod and Eric Toan, the 16th ranked Polar Bears (#16) upset national #13 Franklin & Marshall 5-4 on Sunday, to close a successful weekend at Yale University. Decisive 3-0?s by co-captain Drew Holman ?02, Grant White ?03 and Jon Crowell ?05 secured the victory that practically guarantees Bowdoin a position at the Division 2 National Championships on Feb 23-25. On Saturday night, Bowdoin and recurrent rival Navy (#12) staged another great battle of equals, featuring exhaustingly long and exciting matches. The classy midshipmen won 2 five-gamers and 3 four-setters in route to a 6-3 victory that follows last year?s 5-4 heartbreaker at the Division 2 Nationals that finished on a final winner-take-all double match point. In addition to battling F&M and Navy, Bowdoin defeated University of Rochester 9-0, and fell to powerhouses Yale (#4) and Williams (#5) by the same 9-0 score. Noteworthy of the Navy match was that the P. Bears matched the midshipmen in fitness, something much easier said than done. Clearly, these student/athletes? hard work is paying off.
For the first 20 minutes of play, victory versus F&M seemed to be destined for another occasion, as the Diplomats jumped to 2-0 leads in three of four matches and 1-0 in the fourth. It appeared as if the loss to Navy was still having negative effects on the P. Bears until Toan ?05 and MacLeod ?05 found the comeback trail. Playing at #6, Eric Toan overcame 0-5 deficits in the first three sets to win his match 8-10, 9-6, 9-6, 9-5. MacLeod, who has been a very pleasant surprise as he continues to show tremendous tenacity on matches (and at practice), mounted his comeback from 0-2 down just as he had done against Navy. Against Navy, he brought the Bowdoin team to a momentary 3-2 lead, defeating his opponent at the classic Navy style of play: patience, consistency and fitness. Another clutch performer was Drew Holman, who responded to playing higher up in the ladder by sweeping all of his six sets against F&M and Navy, and doing so on an injured groin. ?By coming back so strong to upset F&M, after such a difficult defeat the night before, the kids made a strong statement, specially to themselves? commented Coach Tomas Fortson. Grant White (#7) also played to a ?new higher level? during the weekend. He used his improved play to defeat F&M, ?go 5? against Navy, and battle his Yale and Williams opponents on equal terms. Jon Crowell ?05 sealed the F&M victory with a very solid performance at #3, winning 10-9, 9-7, 9-2. Lawrence Delasotta ?04, Greg Clement ?04, and Co-Captain Tom Costin ?02, played well at #1, #2 and #4 against high-quality opponents. The Polar Bears look to continue on the upset path as they host the 11th ranked Brown University Bears at The Lubin Family Squash Center on Saturday, January 26th at 1:00 p.m.