William and Mary junior Jeff Kader stunned the top seed at the ITA Mideast Region Championships in a come from behind quarterfinal victory. Kader’s efforts led the Tribe in a strong showing at the men’s tennis tournament held in Chapel Hill, NC.
Saturday, Mat Cloer of Florida State, nationally ranked 22nd, fell to Kader, the nation’s 96th ranked player 3-6, 3-6 after winning the first set 6-4. Kader was the only W&M player to reach Saturday competition in the event, which began with doubles and singles action on Thursday.
The Tribe started strong, winning seven of its first nine singles matches and advancing two doubles teams past the main draw qualifying rounds. Additionally, five singles competitors survived the qualifying rounds in order to play in the main draw event.
When play concluded on Friday, only Kader remained alive in singles competition. Both doubles teams and three singles players dropped in the first round of the main draw event. Sophomore Steven Ward earned a birth in second round play, but lost 0-6, 4-6 to Marcus Westman of South Carolina.
Kader played twice Saturday: first defeating Carl Wermee of South Carolina in the round of 16 before upsetting Cloer.
Head Coach Peter Daub praised Kader’s aggressive play. “He’s always had the potential to play this way and today he believed in himself enough to do it. He served huge and went for his shots and when he does that he’s one of the country’s best players,” said Daub. Speaking to Kader’s surprising quarterfinal win, the coach concluded, “This is probably the greatest match that I’ve seen Jeff play.”
The Tribe now turns its focus to the spring season, beginning with the Waikaloa Hilton Invitational to be played in Hawaii starting 7 Janurary.
In the words of Coach Daub, “This [Tribe play at the ITA Mideast Regional] sets a great foundation for us to get ready for the spring season, where we will continue to build on our accomplishments at this tournament.”