Vassar Today

Mattelson '10 Takes Tennis Title

By Chelsea Katzenberg '08
As a junior, Michael Mattelson ’10 advanced to the title match of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Northeast Singles Championship, where he lost to New York University’s Patrick Whitner, 6-4, 6-4. As a senior, Mattelson again found himself facing off against Whitner for the same bragging rights. Following a first set in which Whitner won, 6-3, it appeared as if history might repeat itself. But Mattelson, a powerful and confident tennis player, wasn’t ready to let that happen.

“Losing last year was very upsetting to me because I lost a match that, honestly, I thought I should have won,” says Mattelson, an economics major with correlates in physics and astrology. “I obviously didn’t want to give [Whitner] the satisfaction of winning again,” he adds. “I knew I had worked too hard not to win.”

Unfazed by his early deficit, Mattelson rebounded to win the next two sets, 6-3, 6-1, and claim the ITA Northeast Singles title, the first player in the history of Vassar’s tennis program to do so. As a result of the win, he also became Vassar’s first-ever representative at the ITA National Small College Championships. Although Mattelson dropped his three matches at the championships, played in Mobile, Alabama, he faced top national talent as he readied himself for the spring season, when he will attempt to lead Vassar to the Liberty League Championship.

The magnitude of winning the ITA Northeast Singles title was not lost on Mattelson, though it took awhile to sink in.

“Toward the end of the third set, the outcome was pretty apparent because Whitner was struggling physically,” Mattelson says. “When the match ended, I initially had little response, but I began to get more emotional as I realized that it was—at least for now—the pinnacle of my career. It was a very proud moment.”

Returning to campus after his win, Mattelson found himself the recipient of numerous congratulations. Roman Czula, Vassar’s life fitness director and former men’s tennis coach, headlined “In the Pink,” his widely read weekly e-mail to the Vassar community, with news of Mattelson’s victory. And with Mattelson holding the lead spot on the Vassar Athletics website for days following the win, the news was also broadcast to Vassar fans throughout cyberspace.

“It was a little strange for me when suddenly 2,000 people were aware of this big part of my life that often goes hidden on campus,” Mattelson says.“ Getting congratulations from people I didn’t know made me realize even more just how big an accomplishment this is.” Although it is too early to view the singles title as the crowning moment of his career, it is the greatest achievement to date in Mattelson’s very successful four years. As a freshman, Mattelson was named the Liberty League Rookie of the Year, while Vassar claimed the Liberty League title—both program firsts. In his sophomore year, the Brewers notched another program first, qualifying for the NCAA National Championship Tournament, a feat they repeated last season as well. With such a promising start to his senior season—along with the ITA title, Mattelson also won the top singles and doubles tournaments at the Wallach Invitational—the spring season, with a shot at the program’s second-ever Liberty League title and third consecutive NCAA National Championship appearance, looks very promising.

—Chelsea Katzenberg '08

Photo Credit: Carlisle Stockton

Have comments about this article? Email