Wednesday, February 15, 2017

2017 Middlebury Panthers-It's Go Time

Gotta love that Circle


Panther Family,

Welcome back to coverage of the Middlebury Men’s Panther Tennis Team. Today is an exciting day as we kick off our first team practice here in Nelson arena. There has been a lot of anticipation on the ends of both players and coaches for this day to come, now that it is finally here it is time to get to work.

The team is lead by our two senior captains Allen Jackson and Hamid Derbani. Timo Van Der Geest, William (Will) De Quant, and Kyle Schlanger make up our junior class. We have three sophomores; Lubomir (Lubo) Cuba, Peter Martin, and Cole Sutton, with our final members being the freshman class of Aleksandr (Alex) Samets, Alexander (Alex) Vanezis, and Weston Brach. One addition that we are going to add to this year’s blog is our “meet the player” section. With every blog post we will feature one panther student-athlete in efforts for you the fans to get to know our team.

This weeks "Meet the Player":

Senior Captain Allen Jackson

Name: Allen Jackson
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Class: Senior
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 170 lbs
Major: Economics
Favorite tennis player growing up and why: Andy Roddick. He made tennis fun to watch and had a personality.
Favorite movie: The Dark Knight Rises.
Favorite food: Chicken Parmesan at Proctor Dining Hall.
Favorite Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor: Cookie Dough.
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why: Bora Bora. It is paradise.
Why you chose Middlebury College: To win a National Championship and to catch the Middlebury camel.
Favorite Middlebury tennis moment thus far: My battles with teammate Ari Smolyar my freshman year.

Allen is a 5th year senior and one of the biggest leaders we have on our team. He has started in multiple seasons for the panthers but suffered a hip injury prior to last season which ended in a red shirt and challenging surgery. Through amazing determination, patience, and hard work he is back and playing for the panthers this his final season. He leads by example on court with constant commitment to improving and constant commitment to his teammates. We could not be more fortunate to have him leading this 2017 Panther Team. 

We would like you to be aware of all the social media outlets we will have this season covering our men’s tennis team. You can follow us on Facebook at: https://facebook.com/middmtennis/ On Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/middmtennis/ And on twitter at: https://twitter.com/middtennis?lang=en For our schedule, updates, and scores go to our Middlebury College Athletics website: http://athletics.middlebury.edu/sports/mten/index.

We would also like to make everyone aware of an alumni event that we will be hosting the weekend of April 8th and 9th. We will be hosting two very strong NESCAC competitors that weekend (Williams & Tufts), and would love a huge turnout to get our amazing alumni together. Keep in mind that this is just a save the date, specific details will follow.

Without further ado we welcome you to the 2017 Middlebury Men’s Panther Tennis Season. Our season opener will be a home match against Bates College on March 11th at 9am.
As always a major thanks goes out to all those who consistently support our program in so many ways. Now let the games begin...


Sincerely,

Middlebury Men’s Coaching Staff

Monday, June 6, 2016

Wrapping up an Amazing 2016 Panther Season

In our last entry we were on our way to the NCAA tournament in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Although I am sure many of you know the results by now, I would like to do a brief recap of the tournament. For detailed breakdowns of scores and results please go to our Middlebury Men’s Tennis page: http://athletics.middlebury.edu/sports/mten/index

In our first round we played a great match against a very strong Washington University of St. Louis. Palmer/Hamid and Will/Kyle won decidedly at the one and three doubles spots, while Noah/Ari lost a very close tiebreaker making the score 2-1 going into singles. Will De Quant was the first player off absolutely dominating his opponent, followed by Noah Farrell at the top singles spot. With a victory by Palmer Campbell, who had been fighting off illness just days before, the Panthers were on to the NCAA team semi-finals.

Our semi-final match was a repeat of last years’ matchup against a very talented University of Chicago. With wins at two and three doubles, competing brilliantly, and a loss at the top spot, we were looking at a 2-1 lead going into singles. Our opponents that day were extremely gritty and loud, slow and steady we rode the momentum amazingly well as the match labored on. First off was Will De Quant at the four singles spot with a straight-set victory, demonstrating once again why he was one of the toughest players in the country at his spot. Kyle Schlanger, who was seconds from clinching the day before, lost a tough match at the six spot making the overall score 3-2 Panthers. It was an absolute war that day, but with Hamid Derbani’s straight-set victory at five singles, Middlebury was one match away from the NCAA finals. With Noah, Ari, and Palmer, all battling at their spots it was tough to tell who might push it across the finish line. With some amazing clutch and tough play, it came down to Senior Palmer Campbell, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, and the Panthers were in the Finals once again!

That Sunday we went out with both confidence and nerves, feeling very optimistic about our final matchup with Bowdoin College. We had played and won twice before during the season, our third and final matchup of the year planning to do the same. At the beginning the Panthers came out firing, getting up a break at two and three doubles, also having a break point at the top doubles spot. The crazy thing about sports is how quickly momentum can shift, and shift it did. Little by little Bowdoin put together better and better points, as our play went the other direction. As we started to feel all three doubles points starting to slip away we fought as hard as we could, unfortunately that didn’t change the result that Sunday afternoon. Bowdoin went up 3-0 going into singles, we were staring up a monstrous mountain, but we were ready for the fight in front of us. It is not easy to battle like we did after going down 3-0, especially against a team you feel confident playing, but our boys fought to the very end. With Palmer losing a tough match where his opponent played extremely well, the Polar Bears were up 4-0. Never giving up Will was in great position at four singles for a victory, while Kyle was in a three-set war at six. Noah was doing every thing he could in his third set battle, while Ari was hanging on fighting every point and not giving up. The finals match was with Hamid at the five spot. As Gil Roddy from Bowdoin clinched his spot 6-4, 6-4, our dream of a Championship was over. We would like to briefly congratulate Bowdoin on their success as they had an amazing tournament. They are a great group of young men who deserve their success; a sincere congratulations. Back to our Middlebury boys, we the coaches would like to say how proud we are of every member of this year’s team. It’s not easy to set the goal of winning the whole thing, feeling failure when coming so close and finishing two out of almost 400 teams, but as we gain perspective we want to acknowledge what an amazing season it really was. Winning the NESCSC Team Title, only facing two D3 losses all year, and making the finals of the NCAA’s, what a brilliant run.

All below photos of NCAA's are thanks to the amazing work of Dain McKee (Assistant Director of Athletic Communications)

 


After the Team Tournament was completed we went on to the Individual Tournament. Ari Smolyar lost a tough 3-set first round match against a very tough player from CMU, who ended up reaching the Semi-Finals. Congratulations to Ari who gave his last match every thing he had, and ended his career with All-American status. Noah Farrell won two rounds before falling to the finalist from Kalamazoo in the quarter finals. Noah had an absolutely brilliant season and rightfully finished as one of the best players in the country, he should be so proud. Palmer and Hamid had a fantastic run reaching the finals of the doubles draw, playing some of the best tennis we coaches have seen on their way there. These two were mere points away form losing in both of their first two rounds, but as Palmer repeatedly told us, “Hey, its fate baby!” Although they lost a tough match in the final to the winners of Kenyon College they should feel nothing short of pride on their tournament run. Their quarter and semi-final rounds were astounding, and both are ending the season with All-American status and a final #2 National Doubles Ranking.

Switching gears we would love to introduce our incoming new student-athletes as we look to the 2017 Panther season. We ill be brining in Alex Vanesis, Alex Samets, Lubomir Cuba, and Weston Brach. We are so excited to have all these players and their family’s join this Panther family. One huge addition to the team next year is the returning of one of our senior captain’s Allan Jackson. Allan faced an intense hip-surgery this past year, taking him away from Middlebury, and after many conversations we can say he is more than eager to return and ready to lead. 

That being said thanks again to everyone who has supported us all season long, we could not have done it without you. Graduates Palmer, Ari, Jack, and all their family’s, please stay in touch and best of luck going forward in your lives. You know where we will be when you want to see some good Midd tennis. Also a huge heart-felt thank you to our assistant Courtney Mountifield. You were absolutely brilliant and utterly essential in this year’s success. Best of luck moving forward but as we all know, you will not need it.

Till next season,


Middlebury Coaching Staff

Friday, May 20, 2016

NESCAC Champs on to the NCAA's at the Zoo

2016 NESCAC CHAMPIONS


Dear Panther Family,

A lot has happened since our last entry so we would love to take a moment to highlight the recent
accomplishments of this 2016 Men's Panther Tennis Team:

-Finishing our regular season 16-1 against Division 3 opponents

-Undefeated in NESCAC dual matches

-2016 NESCAC Team Tournament Champions

-Noah Farrell NESCAC Player of the Year, Ari Smolyar, Palmer Campbell and Hamid Derbani All-
Conference award winners

-Two 5-0 victories to get to the Elite 8 in Kalamazoo Michigan

-Noah Farrell and Ari Smolyar qualify for NCAA Singles Individual Tournament

-Doubles Team Palmer Campbell and Hamid Derbani qualify for NCAA Doubles Individual Tournament

I was very proud of our accomplishment of going undefeated in NESCAC dual matches which was a testament to strong and consistent preparation. Since our last update we defeated a strong and talented Amherst team 7-2 and beat Connecticut College and Trinity College 9-0 heading into our conference tournament. As the top seed at NESCACs we received a bye and played Wesleyan University in the semifinals which turned out to be one of our most challenging matches. Reversing a doubles deficit the first time we played them, we went up 2-1 after doubles and won three singles to complete a 5-2 hard fought victory. In the finals, we defeated second seed and #4 nationally ranked Bowdoin College aided by a doubles sweep leading to a 5-1 final outcome. Winning the conference for the second straight year was a huge accomplishment and a positive reflection of the consistent effort from top to bottom from our student athletes. 


Our strong regular season granted us the opportunity to host the first three rounds of the NCAA Team Championships which was another deserved thrill for our team. Always nice to play at home, we did not disappoint as we came away with two strong 5-0 efforts against Wilkes College (23-3) and #20 ranked Skidmore College (14-5). Sweeping the doubles for our final three matches was a fitting conclusion to our focused effort to enhance our doubles skillset, and something we all feel very good about heading into the Elite 8 in Kalamazoo, Michigan next week. At Kalamazoo, a historically significant location and home of the most prestigious hardcourt tournament in the U.S., we enter as the three seed and play perennial power Washington University of Saint Louis. They are talent laden, well coached, and have been one of the most consistent final four teams over the last decade. It should be a wonderful match as we enter with a great head of steam. 


It has been, and continues to be, a wonderful journey on many, many levels. Hats off to our assistant coaches for their outstanding efforts who have served to create a wonderful foundation for our athletes to explore their full potential. Courtney’s contribution to recruiting and conditioning have been incredible impactful and Bryce has been involved each step of the way since joining us, providing insight, humor, experience, and talent on all levels. Moreover, our work with Morgan Shepherd in the Fall continues to bear fruit as our technical skills are ever expanding. Thanks again to our amazing Panther family for your amazing support. We are deeply appreciative of the many people that contribute to this fine program and we clearly would not be able to consistently approach our current level of excellence without your help! 

For more detail, individual scores, and highlights please visit our team site on the Middlebury Athletics webpage at http://athletics.middlebury.edu/sports/mten/index. For those of you who want to follow our progress at the NCAA's please visit: http://hornets.kzoo.edu/tournaments/tennis/2015-16/index

Very best wishes,

Bob, Bryce and Courtney