NYU Upset Order to Become College National Champions

By Matt Hetherington | April 22, 2018, 10:40 a.m. (ET)

New York University have put it all on the line and historically claimed their first ever co-ed team championships at the 2018 iSET College National Table Tennis Championships in Round Rock, Texas. In the group stages they clinched victory 3-2 over UC Davis, swept Binghamton 4-0 with Adar Alguetti starting out with a convincing win over Kai Zhang, then sealed the advance with a 3-1 victory over UT Dallas. 

NYU entered the competition as the fifth seeds, but with a star-studded lineup featuring US Olympian Yijun Feng, US National Team member Adar Alguetti and India's Mudit Dani, Wenhao She and a contingent of strong support players. 

The team pushed out of the starting blocks in the main draw with a 3-0 win over University of Texas, though the challenges would only grow from there. Next they would come up against last year's runner-up, the team from UC Berkeley. The closest clash in the tie would be between Adar Alguetti and 2-time US Olympian Lily Zhang. Alguetti would claim the match in the 5th to put NYU on the board, leaving Feng to sail through his matchup against Teddy Tran and Mudit Dani to clinch the victory over Jordan Yee to advance the team into the semifinals.

In the semifinal stage they would come up against Mississippi, the 2015 champions, while on the top half of the draw it was the intimidating Texas Wesleyan who headed the seedings. TW have won an almost incomprehensible 13 of the last 14 editions of the co-ed championships and have won more College table tennis titles than any other school since the competitions beginning. They faced Pillar College in the semifinal after the New Jersey school had escaped the clutches of defeat against Lindenwood in their quarterfinal.

While Texas Wesleyan were the stronger force and advanced to the final, NYU would face a much greater challenge, finding a foot up in the most remarkable of fashions. 

Yijun Feng would continue to provide the backbone for the team, winning his singles, but Adar Alguetti struggled in his opener against Xiang He, losing in straight games. With a strong lineup for Mississippi, the first two matches were crucial and being tied 1-1 didn't bode well for the New York team. Enter Mudit Dani.

In spectacular fashion, and with energy pouring from his bench, Dani played a thriller to give NYU a 2-1 lead in the contest, battling his way to a win over Weiheng Liu in the third match. The upset result proved to be a vital turning point and NYU fought back in. With Wenhao She losing out to Qingwei Sun it would come down to the doubles. In an exciting display of team spirit and unity the NYU team would rally behind Alguetti and Feng - the two players, already in the Men's Doubles Final, showing their prowess by closing out the tie and advancing to the final.

As the final round commenced the stands were filled on the sidelines, spectators also lining the upper floor watching from above. NYU would need to get a strong start in the tie to have a chance. Texas Wesleyan fielded an immensely strong team with 2015 US Open champion Wang Jinxin, defending College singles champion Jishan Liang, last year's singles runner-up Bruno Ventura Dos Anjos and in their fourth spot a deadly and experienced force formerly of the Chinese National team in Feng Zhe. 

NYU would need to muster it's very best and more, and they would do just that. Adar Alguetti played exceptionally to stun Wang Jinxin in the opening match, giving NYU an all-important headstart in the team final. Yijun Feng would show his Olympic experience by taking out Liang in the second match. Excitement built as NYU took a 2-0 lead, requiring just one more win to pull off a big upset. 

Texas Wesleyan however had safety in depth, the even skill of their team at the highest levels coming through in the third and fourth matches as Ventura Dos Anjos and Feng Zhe showed their absolute class against Mudit Dani and Wenhao She to level the team score at 2-2 and push the match to a deciding doubles. 

Familiar territory for Alguetti and Feng from NYU as they mustered their A Game. Feng Zhe would pair with Wang Jinxin for Texas Wesleyan. The two pairs threw it down on the table for a winner takes all doubles showdown. Feng Zhe's serve and touch was a big factor for the Texas side, though the explosive confidence of NYU became apparent as Alguetti and Feng raced to a 2-0 lead. 

Paired together at this year's World Team Cup, and having already won a deciding doubles over Mississippi, it was the NYU pair who came through, winning 3-1 to give New York University the win in front of a satisfied crowd. An exceptional match between two incredible teams of the highest caliber. Congratulations to both teams on their finals performance and of course to NYU team for winning the co-ed team championship title!