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May 25, 1998

Men's tennis 'Slugs' win fourth NCAA title

By Jim Burns

For the fourth time in a highly successful 10-year run, the men's tennis team at UCSC has captured the national title. Traveling to Williamstown, Massachusetts, for the season-ending tournament, the Slugs came home with the NCAA Division III crown after a 4-2 win over host and previously undefeated Williams College.

The team championship was UCSC's third in four years and fourth since coach Bob Hansen led a UCSC team to its first title in 1989.

Thomas Oechel, playing at No. 2 singles, had the honor of clinching the decisive match for UCSC this year, beating his opponent 6-3, 6-4. After dropping his first six match points, Oechel walked toward his coach to retrieve the ball from the prior point. Tossing it back to Oechel, Hansen said, "Here's your championship ball, Thomas." Moments later, Oechel was mobbed by his teammates after closing the match out with a serve.

Oechel and Brian Cummings launched UCSC's victory with a hard-fought 9-8 (7-4) victory in No. 1 doubles. The doubles point was clinched by victories at No. 2 (Peter Gladkin and Josh Goodley) and No. 3 (Justin Balas and Derek Fitzpatrick).

Besides Oechel, Goodley and Fitzpatrick earned the singles points with victories in their matches.

During the 10-year run, the Slugs have also finished second four times.

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