This past weekend's road trip had the men's and women's teams joining forces in traveling to Maine as guests to 8th ranked Bowdoin and 20th ranked Bates. The panthers came to their first obstacle before reaching the court when our coach bus belched a cloud of black smoke and lost power. Luckily, Roger, our driver, coasted into a Rutland liquor store parking lot and everyone but Jackson, who was deep in sleep, deboarded to await the replacement bus.
Like the champions we are, we rolled with the punches and finally arrived in Brunswick to face off against a very talented, but young, Bowdoin team. We started the match outdoors under a cloudless sky, however, extreme rain was predicted for later in the afternoon.
Our doubles was impressive to say the least; Ari and Noah put on yet another radical performance, winning 8-1 to chalk up our first point. Next off was Chris and Will who played perhaps their most complete match of the season in terms of consistency and returning quality. As the sky filled with rain clouds we looked to complete the sweep at 1 doubles where Peter and Palmer were gridlocked in a back and forth battle. But our panther nerve proved stronger as Bowdoin double faulted on match point to give us the doubles sweep, aka: the kiss of death.
|Year of the BIG M|
Bowdoin and Midd coaches decided to move the match indoors before the rains came, and it wasn’t long before we stomped out any hope for a Bowdoin comeback as Palmer and Ari both won convincingly to seal the match. We received post-clinch victories from Courtney, Will, and Noah. Hats off to Noah for handling a talented opponent who was playing at a high level.
|To those who missed the memo: WDQ has arrived|
Also on a high level has been Charlie’s management of the @middtennis Twitter feed, receiving input from Kyle, Timo, and Allen. Tune in for live match updates and ground level insight on everything MiddTennis.
Sunday's match against Bates saw clear skies and a fiercely contested doubles point that Midd came out of leading 2-1. Peter and Palmer bested the region's top ranked doubles team who has also pioneered the use of the head fake while playing as the server's partner; Peter and Palmer never took the bait.
Midd again offered up a singles performance that, as coaches, we are extremely proud of. Up and down the lineup we competed like champions and are proving very tough to beat when it matters late in the set.
|BIG M = big business|
One notable singles matchup was at the top spot where Ari faced off against Pierre Planche, who was the only player to beat Ari during fall competition. Ari has been eager for a rematch and Sunday was his day. After a premature cheer by a young female in the crowd set off an early dispute, it became clear both players were ready to play hardball. But Ari did what he does best, making the match incredibly physical, turning it into an old-fashioned Mexican knife fight in the desert. Victory- Smolyar.
The Panthers went on to take 5 out of 6 singles matches to finish the day with a 7-2 victory against one of the few remaining undefeated teams in the NESCAC.
|Palmer taking a forehand side door|
We’re beginning to show our best tennis late in the season and we have already been recognized by the DIII blog as one of the hotter teams in the country as we head into post-season play. Both coaches are thrilled with our progress thus far and know we can still reach new levels as we’re improving each time we take the court. We are grateful to be running with such an inspiring group who has the courage to attack this project head on!
Saturday we visit Amherst for our last regular season match and a NESCAC powerhouse showdown. Thanks for your continued support!