A quick glance at the final match of Washington and Lee’s men’s tennis season would show that the Generals lost a 5-1 decision to North Carolina Wesleyan in the NCAA’s second round, back on May 14. But the story behind that “1” is remarkable.
The lone W&L win in the match came at No. 2 doubles, where senior captain Will Hall teamed with junior Jeremy Becht for an 8-6 win. This was not just another match. It marked an amazing comeback that seemed unthinkable seven weeks earlier when Will, playing in the tiebreaker of a doubles match against Christopher Newport, went through a glass window at the McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center on the College of William and Mary campus in Williamsburg, Va. He wound up slicing through a major artery. By every account, it was nothing short of a terrifying scene.
Will was rushed to a hospital for surgery that left him with more than 100 stitches, in addition to staples, from his hamstring down to his calf. According to athletic trainer Matt Phillips, Will’s calf was completely torn from the bone. Matt described the injury as looking much like a shark bite. Will’s odds of playing tennis any time soon seemed slim.
But, as Shana Levine, associate athletic director, explains in her compelling description on the Athletic Department’s “From the Sidelines” blog, Will had other ideas. For all the details about both the injury and Will’s battle back, we highly recommend Shana’s blog post: And the Comeback Athlete of the Year Goes to….
Incidentally, while Will and his doubles partner, Jeremy, won the doubles point in that final match against North Carolina Wesleyan, Will also played singles in the match, losing in straight sets. For his career, he compiled a record of 36-19 in singles and 35-26 in doubles. He also graduated magna cum laude with a mathematics major on May 26.