Men’s tennis moves to Elite Eight

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College men’s tennis team won an NCAA Division III regional on its home courts this past weekend with a pair of 5-0 victories and as a result advanced to next week’s Elite Eight in Kalamazoo, Mich. The Panthers reached the NCAA final a year ago and have won two NCAA titles, most recently in 2010.
The 18-2 Panthers, ranked No. 3, have reached the quarterfinal round for the 13th time in 14 years. On Monday they will play Washington-St. Louis, a team they have not faced this spring.
In this past Sunday’s regional final, the Panthers blanked No. 20 Skidmore (15-5), 5-0, starting by sweeping the three doubles matches indoors at Nelson Arena.
The Panther duo of William de Quant and Kyle Schlanger picked up the first point at No. 3 with an 8-4 win over Skidmore’s Lucas Pickering and Steven Koulouris. Middlebury’s Ari Smolyar and Noah Farrell made it 2-0 with an 8-2 victory in the second flight over Jonah Epstein and Kit Sanderson, and at No. 1 Middlebury’s Palmer Campbell and Hamid defeated Nick Tong and Kai Yuen Leung, 9-8 (7-2).
In singles, Middlebury picked up its fourth point with a 6-3, 6-0 win at No. 4 from de Quant over Pickering. Farrell clinched the match with his 30th win in singles this season, defeating Leung in the top spot by 6-2, 6-4.
Three of the four remaining matches went unfinished. Smolyar grabbed the opening set by a 6-2 score but trailed 5-4 in the second set at No. 2 against Koulouris, while Campbell was up by a set (6-3) and was down 4-3 against Sanderson at the No. 3 spot. Hamid Derbani led 3-2 at No. 5 in the first set against Tong, while Schlanger and Berkowitz at No. 6 didn’t reach the court.
On Saturday, the Panthers defeated Wilkes, 5-0. In doubles, de Quant and Schlanger posted an 8-1 victory at No. 3 over Max Appello and Michael Kranz. Farrell and Smolyar tallied an 8-2 victory over Courtney Murphy and Adam Lefkandinos in the second flight, and at No. 1 Campbell and Derbani won 8-6 over Courtney Murphy and Adam Lefkandinos. 
In singles matches, at No. 6 Timo van der Geest defeated Troy Haas (6-0, 6-0), and Derbani clinched the match over Lefkandinos (6-0, 6-0) at No. 4.
The remaining four matches went unfinished with the Panthers up in all of them. Farrell led, 4-3, against Murphy in the top spot, while Smolyar grabbed the first set (6-0) and was up 2-1 in the second set on Appello. At No. 3, de Quant was a game away from taking the first set (5-2), while Schlanger won the first nine games he played against Kranz (6-0, 3-0).

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