Middlebury College men’s tennis is second in NCAA

MASON, OHIO — The No. 3 Middlebury College men’s tennis team (22-3) won NCAA Division III quarterfinal and semifinal matches in Mason, Ohio, on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, to reach the NCAA final.
In Wednesday’s match up against top-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, however, the Panthers failed to win a match as the powerhouse team from California won, 5-0, to secure the national championship.
The final was a rematch of an earlier contest between the two teams on Claremont’s home courts, won by the host team, 5-2, with many individual matches being closely fought. Middlebury was making its fifth appearance in an NCAA championship final.
The Panthers finish their season at 22-4, tied for the second-most wins in program history, while CMS claims its second national title and finishes with a 32-2 record. The Panthers won NCAA titles both in 2004 and 2010.
In the 12th matchup overall and the fourth in the NCAA Tournament between the two programs, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps jumped out to a 3-0 advantage after doubles. At No. 2, the Stags grabbed the first point when Skyler Butts and Daniel Morkovine lost the first game but reeled off eight-straight for the 8-1 win over Ari Smolyar and Noah Farrell.
In the top spot, Middlebury’s Peter Heidrich and Palmer Campbell opened up a 3-1 edge on Joe Dorn and Warren Wood. The Stags’ tandem responded with seven-straight game victories and doubled CMS’ lead with an 8-3 win.
At No. 3, Middlebury’s William de Quant and Chris Frost were ahead 7-4 and serving for the match, but the Stag team of Glenn Hull and Nik Marino ripped off five-straight games for a 9-7 victory, giving CMS the doubles sweep.
In singles play, the Stags didn’t let off the accelerator when they went ahead via a 6-1, 6-4 victory in the top slot by Wood over Smolyar. Shortly after, Hull clinched the match with a 6-2, 6-2 win against Kyle Schlanger in the No. 6 spot.
In the other four matches that went unfinished, Campbell grabbed the first set at No. 3 for the Panthers by a 6-4 tally and was up a break at 3-2 over Marino in the second. Farrell dropped the first set against Butts (6-3) at No. 2 and was down 4-1 in the second. At No. 4, Frons fell in the first set against Dorn, but rebounded in the next set and was up two breaks at 4-2. In the fifth slot, de Quant was down a set (6-2) and at 2-2 on serve in the second in his match against Morkovine.
Beginning Thursday morning, Smolyar will compete as one of 32 Division III individuals vying for a national title, while Heidrich and Campbell will participate as a duo looking for a title in a bracket comprised of 16 teams.
Middlebury took on Chicago in Tuesday’s semifinal and prevailed, 5-1. Chicago grabbed their lone point by winning the No. 1 doubles match: Ankur Bhargava and Deepak Sabada edged Middlebury’s Peter Heidrich and Palmer Campbell, 8-5 score. At No. 3, Panthers William de Quant and Chris Frost defeated Nicolas Chua and David Liu, 8-5, and in No. 2 doubles, Ari Smolyar and Noah Farrell defeated Max Hakwins and Luke Tsai, 9-7.
In singles play, the Panthers took a 3-1 advantage when Jackson Frons posted a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Peter Leung at No. 4. In the fifth slot, de Quant gave Middlebury a 4-1 lead with a 6-2, 7-5 triumph against Tsai. Farrell recorded the decisive team point at No. 2 with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Sven Kranz, leaving the other three matches unfinished.
In Monday’s quarterfinal, the Panthers defeated Trinity (Texas), 5-2. That match was moved indoors to the Camargo Racquet Club in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Middlebury swept doubles play. Heidrich and Campbell won, 8-4; de Quant and Frost prevailed, 8-5; and Smolyar and Farrell won, 8-3. In singles, de Quant at No. 5 and Frons at No. 4 gave Middlebury the win. 

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