Mobile, Ala. - Robert Kjellberg's impressive fall season came to an end on Saturday as the talented junior dropped a heartbreaking three-set decision in the USTA/ITA Small College National Championship match. The national runner-up finish, however, is the highest individual finish in the history of Battling Bishop tennis.
Riding a seven-match winning streak at the start of the tourney, Kjellberg opened play on Thursday with a three-set win over 3rd-seeded Oliver Loutsenko of Skidmore (2-6, 7-5, 6-2). On Friday, he earned his second upset with another three-set win over 2nd-seeded Paul Bergin of Kenyon (2-6, 6-3, 7-5).
Playing for the program's first National Championship versus Aaron Skinner of Trinity, Kjellberg started strong with a 6-1 win in Saturday's opening set. Unfortunately, he fell just short with a pair of 7-6 losses in the second and third, securing the title for Skinner.
"I picked up lots of good experience this fall," said Kjellberg. "Coming up just short in the finals was very tough, but I am looking forward to the opportunity to play Skinner again in the spring. I know I have more work and tough matches ahead."
The fall season has now officially come to an end for the NCWC men's tennis program, which has earned a coveted bid to the 2013 ITA Division III National Men's Team Indoor Championships. The 13th Annual Championhips will be held February 22-24, 2013 in St. Peter, Minn., at the Swanson Tennis Center on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College.
The eight bids went to Cal Lutheran, Emory, Gustavus Adolphus, Johns Hopkins, N.C. Wesleyan, Trinity (Texas), UC-Santa Cruz and Kenyon, which will be the Bishops opening round opponent.
"We had an impressive fall season, which culminated with Rob's run to the finals of Mobile," said NCWC head coach Worth Richardson. "It's certainly something to build on as the Bishops look to put in hard work in the off-season to prepare for spring."