During another busy weekend with three highly competitive road matches, our group made another jump in level. We were able to win all three matches including triumphs over Trinity (CT), a 7-2 victory over Emory (ranked #1 nationally), and a hard fought 5-4 victory over Wesleyan (ranked #13 nationally). An overall takeaway from our weekend is that we are not afraid of anyone and that we can play just as well outside on the road as we can indoors at home when we focus on executing our respective individual game plans to the best of our ability. Similar to the preceding weekend, our strong doubles play set the tone going 8-1 across the three matches.
A definite highlight of the weekend was another indication of the depth of the Panther roster. Notching a 6-3 victory over Trinity (CT) was a solid win, and provided a great opportunity for many non-regular lineup players to compete for a point for Middlebury. Earning huge victories in a gritty match in front of a loud home crowd, Alex Vanezis, Adam Guo, and Aleks Samets all posted straight set victories to clinch the match for the Panthers.
|Brach '20, lining up a backhand!|
The next monster highlight for the Panthers were all three doubles teams playing some nearly flawless tennis in relatively cold and windy outdoor conditions against the #1 ranked team in the country. We won 8-1, 8-1, and 8-3 at #1-3 doubles respectively against Emory. Our strong starts across the board and ability to keep the pedal to the metal to get all three matches across the finish line was a truly impressive feat against such a talented team. Historically, strong doubles have always been a theme of the most successful Panthers tennis teams and we are hoping to keep up our strong effort in this regard! MIDD!
|de Quant '18 showing off his volley skills. |
The Panthers are crushing it at the net these days!
Moving on to singles against Emory, who boasts one of the deepest singles lineups in the country from top to bottom, the Panthers again showed they are a force to be reckoned with. Lubomir Cuba, Noah Farrell, Will de Quant, and Kyle Schlanger (sometimes known as the big 4), locked into their matches from the get go and all went on to win in straight sets at #1-4 singles providing the Panthers with a 7-0 lead. Both Nate Eazor and Andre Xiao were forced to play match tiebreaks in lieu of a third set for their matches, and even though they did not come out on top, they demonstrated that they are capable of competing neck and neck with the best team in the county at their respective spots without a doubt!
|Farell '19 icing down after his singles victory over Emory.|
van der Geest '18 and Sutton '19 also looking sharp!
It is hard not to feel good after beating the #1 team in the country, but the Panthers did not have much time to celebrate or sit on their laurels. The very next day we traveled to Middletown, CT to compete against an underrated Wesleyan team who has recently been playing some very impressive tennis. We knew going into this match that it was not going to be easy.
Again, doubles set the table for our group. Cuba/Schlanger and Farrell/de Quant continued their winning ways both winning by scores of 8-6 against teams that brought an incredible amount of energy on their home courts and that had a tough crowd behind them, at times chirping the Panther players. It was a fun atmosphere to compete in, and we know that fighting through this type of competition is exactly what we need to help us feel prepared for postseason play. At #3 doubles, van der Geest and Martin were not able to capitalize on their hot start and lost their hard fought proset in a tiebreaker, leaving the Panthers with a 2-1 lead heading into singles.
From here, the Panther players again competed like bosses from the get go, as Will de Quant, Kyle Schlanger, and Nate Eazor all beasted their ways to straight set victories at #3-5 singles to give the Panthers a 5-1 lead and clinch the match. With a bit less on the line, the Panthers dropped two match tiebreakers in lieu of a third set at #1 and #2 singles and also a full three setter at #6 singles. With a final result of 5-4, the Panthers earned another victory, but also were reminded how important it is that we continue to improve, compete, and dig in at every spot in the lineup for us to continue our successful march toward postseason play.
See the full match recaps here:
Up next our last regular season match at home on Sunday! Our potential postseason schedule is also listed below.
Date Time Opponent Location
4/29 1pm Amherst Middlebury, VT
5/4-5/6 TBD NESCAC Tournament Amherst, MA
5/11-5/13 TBD NCAA Rounds 1-3 TBD
5/21-5/23 TBD NCAA Final Rounds Claremont, CA
5/24-5/26 TBD NCAA Individuals Claremont, CA
Lastly, we want to be sure to again thank all of our Middlebury Tennis Family for all they do to support our group. We are so fortunate to have you all cheering us on. As always, a very special thank you to all the current Midd tennis parents who not only cheered us on but as ensured we are one of the best fed teams anywhere!
|Fun team dinner host by the Farrells (thank you!) |
to celebrate our wins over Trinity (CT) and Emory.