Saturday, April 23, 2016

Three NESCAC Matches, Three Panther Victories

Senior Palmer Campbell

Since our last blog update the young men of Midd have come across three dangerous NESCAC opponents (two of the three being top ten teams). Before we talk about our noon match today with rival Amherst of Massachusetts I would like to take a minute to recap our incredible effort these past few weeks.

Williams (#9)
8-1 Middlebury Victory

Traveling over to Williamstown to play the very talented Ephs on their indoor courts can be a bit daunting, but from the very first point the Panthers set the tone and never looked back. Arguably our best combined doubles effort to date the Midd boys jumped out to early leads at all three spots, playing imposing and aggressive doubles as we gained early momentum. With extremely solid and focused play Ari/Noah and Will/Kyle secured victories putting the Panthers up 2-0. Coming down to a tiebreaker Palmer and Hamid played amazing in the clutch to secure the sweep and put Midd up 3-0 going into singles. In singles our seniors Ari and Palmer were first off with brilliant straight set victories to secure the win. They are becoming extremely tough at their respective spots and continually making that statement clear to all opponents they face. Other singles victories included Noah in straight sets, Will in three, and Timo in three, as he showed clearly that he was physically stronger going the distance. Hamid had some great play throughout his match but lost a close super tiebreaker in the end. With a fantastic showing we got on the bus and headed to Boston to face Tufts the next day.

Tufts (#17)
7-2 Middlebury Victory

To put it simply this dual match was gritty, nasty, and brilliant from start to finish. The Tufts courts are located in the center of campus and respective Tufts fans came out in numbers to cheer, heckle, and scream for their team. With a tough 9-7 loss at number two doubles Tufts struck first taking a 1-0 lead. Next was a huge 8-5 victory by Will and Kyle who brought the momentum back to our side as our number one team fought tooth and nail in one of the most brilliant college doubles prosets I have ever seen. Noah and Ari fought off numerous match points in the tiebreaker, all coaches very aware of how huge this point was going into singles. It was a 12-10 tiebreaker loss for Noah and Ari but inspirational all the same. What was most impressive was how quickly our boys rebounded in the group huddle as a look of toughness and willingness to fight to the bitter end was felt throughout the group. I would like to take a second to recognize how well seniors Palmer and Ari took the continual taunting by Tufts fans throughout the match and remained mentally tough throughout the evening. Losing three of the first six singles sets we knew we were in a dog fight. We coaches are so proud of how our boys handled the adversity that day. Minute by minute you could feel the momentum slowly turn our way as our fitness and mental toughness began to reveal itself more and more. Noah, Palmer, and Hamid, all won in straight sets to put the Panthers up 4-2. Will clinched the match in an incredibly clutch three set victory, a victory he earned through fight and determination. Ari showed his toughness winning 6-0 in the third and Timo brought his opponent to cramping to secure the 7-2 overall victory. It was a long drive home but we were all in great spirits.

Bowdoin (#2)
5-4 Middlebury Victory

Last Sunday our match with number two Bowdoin came down to the last match on with number one sophomore Noah Farrell. Before we get to its exciting conclusion I will cover results getting us to 4-4 before it was put on Noah’s racquet. Bowdoin was extremely tough in doubles and came out winning two of the three prosets at number one and number three doubles. Our solo point was earned by Palmer and Hamid who had a dominating victory to keep us in the match. Palmer served huge and Hamid picked off volleys to clinch the 8-2 win, serving out the match with confidence and aggressive play. It was a long road ahead but we had been down 2-1 before, we were ready for the challenge. First off was Hamid with a dominating 6-1, 6-2 victory. Next off was Ari with a one-sided 6-2, 6-0 victory. Palmer was next off with a very composed straight set victory and just like that Midd was up 4-2. With Will, Timo, and Noah, all in third sets things were looking good for the Middlebury upset. The score quickly slipped as both Timo and Will lost close matches putting it on Noah to decided the day’s results. Noah handled the pressure with perfection, something we coaches and teammates try not to take for granted as he continually does so. Point by point he lengthened his lead, playing tough, explosive, and extremely bold tennis. With a score of 6-2 Noah clinched the victory for the Panthers as teammates charged to congratulate his performance. It was a huge step for these boys, especially after all the hard work they have put in day after day this season.

A quick thank you to all the parents and family who not only showed up to senior night but made huge efforts to make this night so very special. Mr. and Mrs. Smolyar and Mr. and Mrs. Welch did an amazing job recognizing both teams and showing appreciation to all players, coaches, and families. Mr. and Mrs. Campbell were unable to attend (great to have Palmer’s grandmother there), but it goes without saying that they have been incredibly impactful with what we now call the Midd Family in so many ways. Seniors Palmer, Ari, and Jack and their families have been such amazing pieces to this Panther program, a heart felt thanks for all you have done.

Today we face a very tough opponent in Amherst at 12:00. The boys, once again, are ready for the challenge ahead. We will keep you posted,

Coaching Staff of Middlebury Men's Tennis

1 comment:

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