Middlebury College tennis teams prevail in NCAA tourney games

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College men’s and women’s tennis teams both advanced in their respective NCAA tournaments this past weekend.
The men’s tennis team on Sunday defeated Bowdoin, 5-3, in an NCAA Division III Regional final, earning a berth in a quarterfinal match next week.
The 20-3 Panthers will meet No. 7 Trinity (Texas) in an Elite Eight matchup to be played on Monday in Mason, Ohio. They have reached the NCAA quarterfinal round in 12 of the past 13 years, winning titles twice. The Polar Bears finished their season at 15-6.
Middlebury took a 2-1 advantage in doubles play. The Polar Bears grabbed their doubles point at No. 3, when Noah Bragg and Kyle Wolfe recorded an 8-6 win over William de Quant and Chris Frost. Middlebury’s Ari Smolyar and Noah Farrell evened things up, topping Kyle Wolstencroft and Gil Roddy in the No. 2 slot, 8-5. In the top flight, Panthers Peter Heidrich and Palmer Campbell tallied a 9-7 victory against Luke Trinka and Luke Tercek.
In singles, the Polar Bears tied the match at 2-2 when Tercek earned a 6-4, 6-1 victory at No. 4 over Jackson Frons. The host Panthers grabbed a 3-2 lead when Smolyar picked up a 6-4, 6-1 win in the top spot over Trinka. Bowdoin’s Gil Roddy squared the score at 3-3 with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Kyle Schlanger in the No. 6 slot.
The Panthers jumped ahead for good when Farrell notched a 6-3, 6-3 victory in the No. 2 slot over Bowdoin’s Noah Bragg, and de Quant clinched the match for Middlebury at No. 5 via a 6-3, 7-5 win against Wolstencroft.
The Middlebury College women’s tennis team defeated host Bowdoin, 5-4, in an NCAA Division III regional final on Sunday. The victory sent the Panthers into the NCAA quarterfinal round for the second time in three years and fourth time overall.
The Panthers (11-6) will play No. 2 Emory in an Elite Eight matchup on Monday in Mason, Ohio. Bowdoin wrapped up its season at 14-6.
The Panthers completed a rally from a 4-2 deficit by winning two three-set singles matches. Middlebury and Bowdoin have faced each other in each of the last four NCAA tournaments and five out of the last six years. The teams were 2-2 in their previous four meetings.
Middlebury held a 2-1 advantage after doubles play. Tess Trinka and Kyra Silitch put the Polar Bears on top with an 8-5 win at No. 2. The Panthers evened the match at 1-1 when Alexandra Fields and Lauren Amos earned an 8-5 victory over Emma Chow and Pilar Giffenig in the third slot. Middlebury took the first lead when Lily Bondy and Ria Gerger won, 8-6, over Joulia Likhanskaia and Tiffany Cheng at No. 1.
Bowdoin made it 2-2 in singles play after Likhanskaia topped Gerger 6-4, 6-2 in the top spot. The Polar Bears took the lead at No. 5 singles as Samantha Stalder defeated Margot Marchese 6-1, 7-5. The lead increased to 4-2 when Silitch took a 6-2, 6-2 decision over Kaysee Orozco in the fourth spot. The Panther rally began when Bondy earned a 7-6, 6-2 win over Trinka at No. 3 singles.
At No. 6, Katie Paradies forced a third set by coming back from a 4-2 deficit in the second set and then earning Middlebury’s fourth point, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0, to pull the Panthers even at 4-4. The match was decided at No. 2. Cheng forced a third set against Fields to keep Bowdoin alive, but Fields dominated the third set to give Middlebury the win, 7-6, 4-6, 6-0.

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