Men’s tennis wins twice to finish league season 7-0
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College men’s tennis team won twice this past weekend, including an upset of Amherst, which was ranked No. 3 in NCAA Division III in the most recent poll. The Panthers finished the regular season at 17-2, 7-0 in NESCAC play.
The Panthers, ranked No. 8 in the most recent NCAA poll, have won nine of the last 10; they will play in the 2014 NESCAC championships from May 2 to 4 at Bowdoin as the No. 1 seed.
On this past Saturday afternoon, the Panthers knocked off Amherst (who are 29-3 overall, 8-1 in NESCAC) by a score of 5-4 in a match played in the Nelson Recreation Center. The Panthers ended the Jeffs’ 17-match winning streak.
In doubles, Amherst took a 1-0 lead when Joey Fritz and Justin Reindel earned an 8-6 win over Alex Johnston and Andrew Lebovitz. The Panthers evened the match at No. 2 when Brantner Jones and Palmer Campbell topped Aaron Revsin and Andrew Yaraghi, 8-3. At No. 3, Peter Heidrich and Ari Smolyar gave their team a 2-1 lead with a 9-8 win over Anton Zykov and Michael Solimano. The Middlebury duo came from down 4-7 to earn the point.
Johnston put the Panthers on the board in singles play, with a 7-6 (7-4), 6-0 win over the 14th-ranked player in the country, Joey Fritz, at No. 1 singles. The Jeffs’ Solimano beat Campbell 6-4, 6-3, at No. 3, before Smolyar earned a 6-4, 6-1 win at No. 4 singles against Zykov, giving Middlebury a 4-2 lead.
At No. 2, Jones dropped the first set (5-7) after being up 5-2 and serving, but bounced back to win the second (6-4). He won a critical game at 3-3 to go up a break in set three and eventually earned the 6-4 win to seal the match for the Panthers with a 5-2 lead.
Yaraghi topped Amherst’s Courtney Mountifield 6-1, 6-3 at No. 5, while Reindel defeated Panther Jackson Frons 6-1, 6-3 in the sixth spot to make it a 5-4 final.
On Sunday, the Panthers clinched the top seed in the NESCAC tournament by knocking off host Tufts, 6-3. The Jumbos dropped to 9-8 and 4-6 in NESCAC play.
The Panthers jumped out to a 2-1 lead after doubles play. The first point for the Panthers came from the No. 2 doubles team of Jones and Campbell, who defeated Brad Wong and Brian Tan, 8-3. Then at No. 1, the pair of Johnston and Lebovitz eased past the Jumbo duo of Jay Glickman and Benjamin Battle, 8-4.
In singles play, Smolyar was the first to finish at No. 4 with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Austin Blau, while Johnston gave the Panthers a 4-1 lead when he earned a 6-4, 6-2 win against Glickman in the top flight.
Jones clinched the match, rebounding from a set down for a 5-7, 6-0, 6-2 win against Wong at No. 2.
Mountifield gave Middlebury its other point with a 6-1, 6-3 win in the fifth slot over Zach Ladwig.
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