Men’s tennis nets NCAA crown
CLAREMONT, Calif. — The Middlebury College men’s tennis team on Wednesday won the NCAA Division III title by defeating NESCAC rival Bowdoin, 5-3, in the final in a match played in Claremont.
The Panthers avenged a 5-3 loss to the 23-2 Polar Bears in the NESCAC title match; finished their season at 25-4, setting a new program record for victories; and won the program’s third NCAA title after earlier wins in 2004 and 2010.
The Panthers earned their way to the final with a 5-3 victory over Emory in a Tuesday semifinal and a 5-1 win over Whitman in a Monday quarterfinal.
They join the 2017 field hockey team as Middlebury NCAA champions during this academic year and became the school’s 35th NCAA champion since 1995. Over this past weekend the Panther women’s lacrosse team played in the NCAA final four in Salem, Va., seeking to add to those totals.
Against Bowdoin on this past Wednesday Middlebury won two of the three doubles matches. The Panthers got on the scoreboard first as the No. 3 team of Timo van der Geest and Peter Martin earned an 8-3 victory over Gil Roddy and Larry Zhao.
The Polar Bears knotted the match at 1-1 when Jerry Jiang and Kyle Wolfe posted an 8-4 triumph against the Panther No. 2 tandem of William de Quant and Noah Farrell. At No. 1 Kyle Schlanger and Lubomir Cuba went to a seven-point tiebreaker vs. Bowdoin’s Luke Tercek and Grant Urken. The Panthers moved to a 6-2 lead before Cuba nailed down the win with an ace.
Middlebury took a 3-1 advantage when Cuba posted a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Urken at No. 1, including another ace on match point. Panther Andre Xiao then made it 4-1 with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Justin Patel at No. 6.
Bowdoin claimed the next two matches to make it 4-3. Roddy won, 6-4, 6-2 at No. 5 over Nate Eazor, while Tercek outlasted Farrell at No. 2 (6-0, 3-6, 6-1).
In the fourth flight, Schlanger outlasted Jiang 6-2, 6-7 (7-4), 6-3 to give Middlebury the decisive point and the NCAA title.
In the lone match that went unfinished, de Quant and Wolfe were tied in the third set, 5-5, after splitting the first two sets.
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