Thursday, April 25, 2019

Panthers (13-5) Building Momentum With Final Regular Match On Saturday

With each weekend in April, there are more and more exciting NESCAC matches. This past weekend, the Panthers again demonstrated their grittiness with two rock solid wins. Before I get any further, as I forgot to include this in our last blog post, I want to make sure to give a big shout out to the Middlebury Panther parents, particularly Alex V’s, Weston’s, Peter’s, and Nate’s parents who brought snacks and drinks to help fuel our boys to four straight wins over the past two weekends! Thank you!

Overall, the coaching staff felt that it was our improved doubles play that supported our group to putting two key victories on the board. As we move forward it will be essential to be at our best level on both the doubles and singles side of the ball.

An admittedly old picture back from spring break of Cuba '19,
but the Maine weekend was just too action-packed to have many
photos as most were focused on cheering on our boys! 

On Friday against Bates, we tested three new doubles teams (comprised of the same six players) and won all three positions on our way to an overall 7-2 team win. On Saturday against Bowdoin, we had an incredible and tightly contested match from start to finish with doubles again setting the tone where our newly formed teams won two out of three matches against some of the best doubles teams at their respective positions in the country.

Bates Match Highlights
With an amazingly warm April day in Maine, we played an outdoor match against Bates. Our doubles play set the tone early, and we rolled to three victories with Cuba/Marin winning 8-2, Samets/Farrell winning 8-2, and Eazor/Xiao winning 8-6. The energy level was great as the Panthers were determined to get our doubles mojo back! The Panthers knew that Bates is a formidable opponent if we were the let our foot off the gas, but our #4 through #6 singles all played at an incredible level securing three straight set matches without anyone losing more than two games in a set. Pretty impressive stuff. At #3 singles, Guo continued his winning ways and pulled out a match tiebreaker in lieu of a third set with the rest of our team watching him secure the 7th point for the Panthers. Click here for a full match recap

Samets '20 showing off his athleticism!

Bowdoin Match Highlights
In a tightly contested match at nearly every doubles and singles position, it was an amazingly competitive atmosphere on the road. Bowdoin was hosting their alumni weekend, which made the tennis all the more exciting with so many fans roaring from the sidelines at the local indoor club which hosted our match. On the doubles side of the ball, we got down early at #3 doubles and then roared back to make it extremely competitive before falling 8-6. At #1 doubles, no team had their serve broken but the Panthers played some of their best tennis in the tiebreaker, winning 8-7(5). At #2 doubles, Farrell/Samets played some incredibly exciting tennis playing off of each other’s strength, saving multiple match points, and coming from behind to win 8-7(7) to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead heading into singles play.

Despite playing some solid tennis at the positions that did not end up going our way, Cuba, Xiao, and Morris all seem to be gradually elevating their games as we head toward the end of our regular season and postseason play. Xiao’s match was just starting a third set when we clinched the match, and having him out there battling until the end gave the rest of our Panthers more breathing room as we fought to put 5 points on the board. Putting the first singles point on the board for the Panthers, Eazor played some aggressive tennis to completely switch the momentum of the match after dropping the first set earning a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory! Winning by an identical score, Guo also roared back after dropping a first set to win 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. Though he had been winning easily in straight sets for our past few matches, senior captain Farrell clinched the deciding point for the Panthers winning by a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 score line. BIG MIDD! The full match recap can be seen here

Farrell '19 came up with the clinching win for the Panthers!

Upcoming Schedule
Saturday, April 27th : 12pm at Amherst
Friday-Sunday, May 3rd – 5th : NESCAC Championships @Middlebury

Check out our link for live scoring on our results/schedule page.

Go Midd!

The Middlebury Men's Tennis Coaching Staff

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Panthers (11-5) Post Two Strong NESCAC Wins Before Heading to Maine this Weekend

What a fun senior weekend it was! Our senior captains played in their final regular season home matches (we will also be hosting the NESCAC tournament this year), and the matches could not have been much more exciting. As a coaching staff, we felt that our doubles play still needs a lot of work, but it has become apparent that we are a force to be reckoned with on the singles courts!

Xiao came up big for the Panthers this weekend!

Tufts Match Highlights
We had wonderfully beautiful spring weather for our Tufts match at 60-plus degrees and sunny, but unfortunately this context did not elicit our best doubles performance. In fact, Tufts demonstrated they are a force on the doubles court and played extremely well to beat us at all three doubles positions. We certainly have a lot to work on to get better, but credit to Tufts for coming at us from the get go. Being down 0-3 against a feisty Tufts team that had just won 4 of 6 singles matches against Williams the preceding weekend, we knew we had quite the uphill climb ahead of us. Fortunately, the Panthers took the court prepared to battle! Noah put the first point on the board for us (he has been making this a habit of late) with a 6-3, 6-0 win at #2 singles. Sophomores Nate Eazor and Adam Guo also posted straight set wins for the Panthers, getting us right back in contention. As the momentum kept building, the Panthers were able to complete the rare 0-3 comeback victory as we won at every spot in singles! Cuba and Morris both posted three set wins against strong players, and Xiao won in a very competitive and long two-set match against a very good opponent. See full match recap here. Building some confidence, at least on the singles court, the Panthers were really looking forward to a fun battle against Williams the next day after they just beat Wesleyan 5-4.  

Nothing like regrouping during the team meeting
after doubles heading into singles play!

Williams Match Highlights
Looking to ensure that we would not get in a hole after doubles was going to be a challenge, as Williams has been playing some of the best doubles in the country of late. They also got off to a quick start against us, as their #1 doubles team was too tough and was the first match off giving Williams the first team point. However, the Panthers dug in and kept fighting. After being down an early break, Farrell/Martin played some of their best doubles of the year and posted an impressive 8-3 score to secure a doubles point for the Panthers. Williams ended up pulling away at #3 doubles, forcing us into an all too familiar position of needing to battle back in singles after doubles play (down 2-1). With confidence growing on the singles court, the Panthers charged out of the gates yet again. Farrell put up a shocking 6-0, 6-0 score at #2 singles, tying up the match quickly. Four other matches were won in straight sets, with Williams winning at #4 and #5 singles. Cuba and Eazor each posted straight set victories of their own at #1 and #6 singles respectively, knotting the team score at 4-4 with only #3 singles left to play. Sophomore Andre Xiao put on an amazing display of tennis to win 6-3 in the third with all eyes on him in the biggest of moments. It is always a rare opportunity to be the last match on with a tied team score, and Xiao took full advantage of enjoying the moment (see video below)! Another gritty team win that made us one very proud coaching staff! See full match recap here

Upcoming Schedule
Fri 4pm at Bates
Sat 2pm at Bowdoin

Check out our links for live scoring/streaming on our results/schedule page ( We believe video live streaming will only be available for an outdoor match on Saturday.

Go Midd!

The Middlebury Men’s Tennis Coach Staff

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Panthers (9-5) Look to Bounce Back This Weekend Against Tufts and Williams

The Panthers returned to our beautiful Vermont home and hosted three matches this past weekend. We also had an incredible group of Panther tennis alumni cheering us on in Allen Jackon, Palmer Campbell, Peter Heidrich, and Chris Frost! Great celebrating with that legendary crew! Even though two of the matches did not result in the wins we had hoped for, we are steadfast in our determination to use these matches to better ourselves for our upcoming NESCAC battles. Overall, the Panthers had many spurts of great play but we will need to sustain our top level longer to start coming away victorious against top ranked opponents.

Great alumni event at Mr. Ups!

Wesleyan Match Highlights
#7-nationally ranked Wesleyan came out swinging and took two doubles matches against us, but we hit back at #3 doubles as Samets/Xiao earned an 8-7 tiebreak win to put the Panthers on the board heading into singles. In singles play, Farrell and Guo led the way for the Panthers both earning impressive straight set victories against very strong players. They both demonstrated that they can hold down their respective positions as well as anyone in the nation! Full match recap here.

Guo '21 and Vilys '22 have their game faces on!
The coaching staff always proud of our group!
Connecticut College Match Highlights
We have always taken immense pride in the depth of the Panther roster and we highlighted this strength in the 7-2 Conn College victory. Vanezis/Martin and Samets/Sutton got the fun started winning 8-4 and 8-2 respectively at #1 and #3 doubles.  Our 2-1 doubles lead was then expanded with five straight set singles wins from Vanezis (#1 singles), Samets (#3 singles), Brach (#4 singles), Hilty (#5 singles) and Sutton (#6 singles). We love seeing our whole group compete and show off what they can do when we throw them into the fray! Full match recap here

Brach '20 getting done on the singles court!

Martin '19 and Vanezis '20 carefully planning their next play!

Emory Match Highlights
We looked to bounce back hard from the loss to Wesleyan on Saturday, but unfortunately our doubles did not go as planned. Typically a strength of our Panther program, our doubles teams all fell in three hard fought matches including a tough tiebreak loss at #3 doubles. With our backs pinned against the wall, our group decided to dig their heels in and we made a big push toward a monster singles comeback winning 4 out of 6 first sets in singles. In the end, we captured 3 singles wins at the top three positions with Cuba, Farrell, and Xiao demonstrating that they should be one of the most feared 1,2, 3 punches in DIII tennis. Full match recap here

Setting the tone in our team meeting!

Each of them won a straight set match against very strong Emory players. We fought like men up and down the lineup and we are happy that we have time to get back to work on our games and prepare as we continue to strive for playing our best when it matters most at the end of the season!

Upcoming Matches and Senior Celebration

12pm vs Tufts
630pm Senior Night Celebration (taking place on campus in Kenyon Arena Lounge)

12pm vs Williams

What a career these four have had! Can't wait
to celebrate and keep the fun rolling this weekend.
Looking forward to some great matches and celebrating our seniors!

Go Midd!

The Middlebury Men’s Tennis Coach Staff