MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College men’s tennis team will make its 13th consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III tournament and will host a regional from this Thursday to Saturday.
The Panthers won the 2002 and 2010 titles and have reached the NCAA semifinal round seven of the past 11 seasons.
The 18-3 Panthers will swing into action on Friday at 2 p.m., when they will take on the winner of the Thursday’s match between Babson (10-10) and Colby-Sawyer (14-8). Also on Friday, at 10 a.m. Williams (15-6) will meet the winner of Thursday’s match between Skidmore (13-7) and Yeshiva (13-2). The winners will square off in the regional final on Saturday at 1 p.m.
This past weekend, Middlebury saw its hopes of winning a seventh NESCAC championship come up short with a 5-1 loss on Sunday to Amherst (31-3) in the final of the NESCAC tournament hosted by Bowdoin.
The Jeffs avenged their 5-4 loss to Middlebury the weekend before. Middlebury entered that match ranked No. 3 in D-III, with the Jeffs at No. 4, but the rankings are likely to change after Sunday’s result. Amherst won its third NESCAC title in the last four years and sixth overall.
Amherst scored three of the five points needed for the win by sweeping doubles play. Joey Fritz and Justin Reindel defeated Alex Johnston and Andrew Lebovitz, 8-5, in the top flight, just moments before Michael Solimano and Anton Zykov defeated Ari Smolyar and Peter Heidrich, 8-4, at No. 3. In the second flight, the Jeff duo of Andrew Yaraghi and Aaron Revzin completed the sweep, 8-5, against Brantner Jones and Palmer Campbell.
Jackson Frons got the Panthers on the board at No. 6 singles, 6-4, 6-1 over Russell Einbinder. The Jeffs regained their three-point margin thanks to Fritz, who captured a straight-set win at No. 1, 6-4, 6-4. Yaraghi sealed the win for Amherst by edging Smolyar 6-0, 7-5 at No. 4 to give the Jeffs the title.
The Panthers had earned their berth in the final by blanking host Bowdoin, 5-0 on Saturday. Johnston and Lebovitz, Jones and Campbell, and Smolyar and Heidrich put Middlebury up 3-0 with doubles wins, and Johnston at No. 1 and Smolyar at No. 4 earned the clinching singles victories.