|Sophomore Noah Farrell|
Our Panther spring break concluded with highs, lows, and a ton of learning lessons as we continue our push forward in our quest for a National Championship. The Panthers notched a solid 6-3 victory over Pomona-Pitzer Colleges, had a tough 3-6 loss to UC Riverside of southern California, and played an incredibly close match with defending champions Claremont Colleges of southern California. Before we lead into our two upcoming NESCAC matchups we would like to do a quick summary of our previous division three matches with Pomona and Claremont Colleges. For detailed scores and information please visit http://athletics.middlebury.edu/sports/mten/index.
Pomona was a tough loss for us to handle last season and the boys were ready for this most recent rematch. We came out firing in doubles as Ari and Noah grabbed the momentum early and never looked back finishing with an 8-1 victory. They played inspiring and aggressive doubles that started the match on a fantastic note for the Panthers. Next off was the number three team of William and Timo who had a battle of a match but came up in the clutch winning with a final score of 8-6. Last off was Palmer and Hamid at the number two spot with a very close and tough 9-8 loss. Overall it was a great doubles effort against a very tough Pomona doubles lineup as our hard work and progress in this area continues to show. In singles the Panthers came out hard and didn’t let up. With wins by Hamid, Noah, Will, and Ari the team victory was secure. Both Timo and Palmer lost close matches in super tiebreakers to conclude the evening match, not taking away from an overall great effort as we switched our sights to the upcoming rematch with CMS.
Our match with CMS was a war from start to finish. Similar to our effort with Pomona the Panthers came out blazing in doubles with teammates cheering and yelling from top to bottom. Ari and Noah faced a tough loss at number one doubles but the score was quickly back even with a dominant victory by Hamid and Palmer at the number two spot. That afternoon we had the combination of Timo and Kyle Schlanger playing the third doubles spot and with amazing play they did not disappoint. With Kyle serving at 7-6 both he and Timo went back and forth with match points before an incredible first volley was struck by Kyle, leading to a stag error and a victory for this new Panther team. The Panthers came out strong in singles winning four of the first six singles sets. Unfortunately, the momentum swung the other way as the Stags proceeded to chip away at the deficit they faced. Palmer and Timo were first off with two tough straight set losses but Noah evened the score with a brilliant straight set victory at the top spot. At one point Will and Hamid were both down 4-1 in third sets while Ari was just starting his his third set, it was looking dim for Midd. With a brilliant effort by Will and continued fighting by Hamid and Ari all of a sudden the Panthers were back in the match. As the battle continued point after point the Stags took victory’s at both the number two and five singles spots to clinch the match for CMS. Will came all the way back to a third set tiebreaker with incredible fight, but came up short in the end after the match was decided. The biggest lesson learned that day was how the match was on our racquet, it was ours for the taking. Since returning to Middlebury the coaching staff has been extremely impressed with the resiliency of this team. Disappointment can lead to cutting corners in terms of work and commitment, we were happy to say that these young men have done the exact opposite.
Today we have a very tough away match with NESCAC opponent Williams College of Massachusetts. Tomorrow we face a very talented Tufts College, also on the road. Day by day this team continues to work and grow and mature into a team we the staff are very proud of. Thanks again to all the support over our spring break trip, the Shapiro family for hosting an amazing dinner, and all the family’s and friends who came out to support the Panthers. We will keep you updated,
Coaching Staff of Panther Tennis