Men’s tennis posts .500 mark on trip; reaches 8-2
CALIFORNIA — The Middlebury College men’s tennis team emerged from its trip to California last week with two wins in four matches against nationally ranked opponents and an 8-2 record overall. The Panthers were ranked No. 6 in last week’s NCAA Division III poll.
On March 23, the Panthers edged No. 21 University of California Santa Cruz, 6-3, but were defeated a day later by ninth-ranked Pomona-Pitzer, 5-4. Middlebury rebounded for a 6-3 victory over No. 18 Redlands on March 25, but ended the trip with a 7-2 setback at the hands of top-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on March 27.
In a match played at Whittier College, the Panthers opened action last week by dropping two of the three doubles matches against UC Santa Cruz. The lone Middlebury point came from the No. 2 tandem of junior Ari Smolyar and freshman Noah Farrell by an 8-4 score.
In singles play, the Panthers battled back and took five of the singles matches, all in straight sets. Junior Allen Jackson won, 6-2, 6-0 at No. 6; Smolyar gave the Panthers a 3-2 lead with a 6-3, 6-1 at No. 1; Junior Jackson Frons made the score 4-2 in favor with a 6-2, 6-3 decision over A.J. Flora at No. 4; Farrell clinched the team victory when he grabbed the first set at No. 2 (6-3) before his opponent was forced to retire.
Junior Palmer Campbell then earned a 6-2, 6-4 triumph over Kyle Richter at No. 3. Only senior Courtney Mountifield lost, in a three-set match in the fifth flight.
In doubles action vs. Pomona-Pitzer, only Farrell and Smolyar prevailed for Middlebury, an 8-5 win at No. 2. The teams then split the six singles matches, with Campbell, Smolyar and Mountifield earning points for the Panthers.
On Wednesday vs. Redlands, the No. 2 tandem of Smolyar and Farrell again earned the only Middlebury doubles point, by an 8-1 score.
In singles play, the Panthers battled back and took five of the singles matches. Jackson, Frons, Smolyar, Campbell and Farrell pulled out wins for Middlebury.
Vs. No. 1 Claremont, the Panthers picked up their two points from the doubles team of Campbell and Peter Heidrich, and Campbell also won his No. 3 singles match.
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