Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Panthers Demonstrate Depth at Midd Invite; Next Up Fall ITA Regional

The 2019 Middlebury Invitational demonstrated both that we have great potential, youth, experience, and many areas to keep shoring up as a team. Overall, we excelled in singles and although we won many doubles matches, but did not have any deep runs in either the A or B doubles flights. As doubles has been a perennial strength of the Panther program, we know we need to emphasize our training in this department.

Head Coach Bob Hansen getting in some ab work
at a morning workout with the boys!

On the singles side of the ball, we had four incredibly runs to the final in each of the four flights. Zach Hilty ’22 continues to improve every time he gets a chance to compete and won three straight set matches on his way to the D Flight finals including a decisive win over the #1 seed in the D Flight from Tufts. His fellow sophomore, David Vilys ’22 also displayed some incredible grit and perseverance on his way to the finals. He won two matches in a third set match tiebreak, and played some incredible tennis on the biggest points. In the B Flight, freshman Robby Ward ’23 played with great passion and heart in every single match mowing down three tough opponents to earn a trip to the finals. Ward ’23 ended up on the wrong end of a third set match tiebreak in the finals, but showed that he is going to be a force to be reckoned with for the Panthers for many years to come! Last but not least, Stan Morris ’22 again had a wonderful Middlebury Invite. Winning the B Flight last year, Morris ’22 followed that up with a great run to the A Flight finals also ending up on the wrong end of a third set match tiebreaker. Morris ’22 showed that he has continued to build on his aggressive style of play and always brings the fire each and every time he takes the court!

Special shout out also goes to all the freshmen Panthers, who all made their dent at the Middlebury Invite, each posting their first college victory! Andrew Mueller ’23 won a straight set singles match over a player from Bates, and Aidan Harris ’23 partnered with Alex Vanezis ’20 to secure a win over a team from Tufts. It is particularly exciting to see these young guys hit the ground running, and the Panther men’s tennis class of 2023 is clearly going to be a huge force in our program right from the get go!

A complete description of tournament results can be found by clicking here

Guo '21 (left) with Mueller '23 (right)
at our community service event.
Freshman Spotlight: Get To Know Andrew Mueller
Hometown: Antigua, Guatamala
Siblings: Older brother Ryan (also a college tennis player) and younger sister Caroline (soccer phenom).
Favorite Food: Tacos
Favorite Hobby Outside of Tennis: Bouldering
Pets: Maya (Golden Doodle)
Favorite Pro Tennis Player: Roger Federer
Best Part About Being in Vermont: Scenic landscape
Favorite Thing About Middlebury College So Far: Team culture
Shout Out To A Teammate(s): Aidan and Robby - great crew to join team with, looking forward to 4 years with these guys.

The squad ready to get to work removing all of the invasive
weeds in the pond at Middlebury Elderly Services.
Community Service at Middlebury Elderly Services
This past Saturday, Middlebury Men’s Tennis took part in Addison County’s Days of Caring by doing a pond reclamation project for Middlebury Elderly Services. Our contribution was a two pronged approach. First we removed all of an invasive species of plant that had overrun an otherwise flourishing pond. We had guys in canoes, waders, and roaming the shores to return the pond to its more natural state.

Hard at work!
In addition, a unique entertainment event for the seniors involved a tournament hosted on the Elderly Services campus next to the pond. The format was a first to 9 points single set played on an artificial turf mini tennis court using small rackets and foam balls. We also had a player act as an announcer for each of the matches who had a microphone and sat atop a ladder for additional color commentary and background. The twelve person draw included all 11 of the Panther players (two of our boys are still overseas) and our veteran assistant coach (and author of this blog post). In a grueling tournament that exhibited amazing skills from passing shots on the run, skied lobs, and knifing volleys the final result pointed out that in the right context anyone can shine (see picture below).

All smiles before their mini tennis battle in front of the crowd!
Upcoming Schedule
Our next tournament begins Friday at Colby College in Waterville, ME. The Fall ITA New England Regional is an amazing tournament with all of the best teams in our region represented, and we are excited to see our group compete again!

Go Midd!

Very best wishes,
The Middlebury Men’s Tennis Coaching Staff

Friday, September 13, 2019

Middlebury Invitational 2019 This Weekend!

Our Fall season is now in full swing and we are loving it! Each year bring a new energy and excitement for the journey ahead. The coaching staff has been incredibly pleased with the effort and enthusiasm that our players have brought to each practice session so far this year, as the fun is contagious!

Our senior captains looking strong before our morning
workout at the track on a beautiful morning!
The Middlebury Invitational starts on Saturday, and we look forward to watching our group compete against six other top DIII programs. It is always particularly enjoyable to see our Freshmen compete in Panther gear for the first time! Depending on the weather, match play will begin at 8am (if the weather forecast is for rain) and 9am (if the weather forecast is clear). Our entire roster will be competing, aside from Thorne Gregory and Nate Eazor who are studying abroad in Spain and Australia respectively. We miss those two already, but all reports are that they are enjoying their semesters abroad so far and we can’t wait to have them rejoin us next semester.

We also want to highlight that our three freshmen have hit the ground running and Aidan Harris, Andrew Mueller, and Robby Ward have already demonstrated that they will be a force in our program for many years to come. Stay tuned for our freshmen spotlights that will begin next week, where we will get to know each of our newcomers a bit more.  

From our most recent graduating class (both men's and women's programs), can you name the three players we will be adding to our Middlebury Tennis All-American plaque that is hanging in our team room?

To watch the match, our sports information team has set up a homepage (LINK HERE) where you can click on a link that will take you to any court throughout the day that you want to watch. We have cameras that we plan to stream on Courts 1-6 on our outdoor courts and Courts 1-4 on our indoor courts. The cameras will be rolling all day, so please touch base with your “favorite” player if you want to get an update from them as to which court they will be playing on and when. Or if you like, you can click through the courts to see which one you want to watch. We are looking forward to using PlaySight for the first time at a Fall tournament!

The draws can also be accessed at the same link provided above.

Also, we want to thank everyone who purchased items from our online team pop-up store! We love knowing that beautiful Panther gear is going to be worn with pride both near and far!

Go Midd!

The Middlebury Men’s Tennis Coaching Staff

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Fall Season 2019 Here We Come

Instead of being sad that another summer has come and gone, don’t fret, as the Fall brings with it that most exciting time of the year when we kickoff another journey for the Middlebury Men’s Tennis Program. Our three newest members are now on campus during orientation week, so stay tuned for our freshman profiles in our upcoming blog posts!

Middlebury's beauty is hard to beat in the Fall!
To get things rolling, we wanted to provide a few fun updates to our Middlebury Tennis Family about our team entering this new season. The first thing is we want to tell you about the second iteration of our Middlebury Tennis Team Store (CLICK THE LINK HERE). 

This is an example of one of the items offered in our team store! The picture of does not yet
have the Middlebury Tennis Logo that will be professionally embroidered on the shirt.

There is a nice variety of apparel to choose from, and most importantly everything that you purchase will be embodied with our official Middlebury Men’s Tennis Logo (included in the list prices)! We hope you enjoy and please feel free to send us a message if there is something you would like that was not in the store that we could add in next time!

As a coaching staff, we are thrilled to get to know our new team members on a deeper level and to start accelerating the process of building a supportive team culture that optimizes the growth of each of players. We want to continue to build on the incredible stretch of success that our program has had in recent years, and we know it is going to take an incredible effort with everyone pulling together if we want to find ourselves back in the hunt again this year.

The Panther roster for the 2019-20 season is comprised of 3 seniors, 4 juniors, 3 sophomores, and 3 freshmen. Head Coach Bob Hansen is entering his 9th season with the Panthers and Assistant Coach Andrew Thomson for his third season as a coach at Midd. Our first practice will take place on  September 9th and we cannot wait to get started! We look forward to posting updates on our blog throughout this season and really appreciate everyone who is following along and supporting us. Take a look below to see our updated team roster and our 2018 Fall tournament schedule.

2019-20 Team Roster
Seniors: Weston Brach, Aleksandr Samets, and Alex Vanezis
Juniors: Nate Eazor, Thorne Gregory, Adam Guo, and Andre Xiao
Sophomores: Zach Hilty, Stan Morris, and David Vilys
Freshmen: Aidan Harris, Andrew Mueller, and Robby Ward
Coaching Staff: Head Coach Bob Hansen and Assistant Coach Andrew Thomson

Notable Statistics
·      The 2018-19 Panther squad captured the 9th NESCAC team championship in program history.
·      The Panthers have now earned sixth straight trips to the NCAA final four or beyond.
·      Our men have continued to crush it in the classroom, again earning ITA Academic All-American status as a team yet again!

The winning moment from our NESCAC title last season!
2019 Fall Schedule (link)
Date                Time                           School                                     Location
9/14,15            All Day                       Middlebury Invitational          Middlebury, VT
9/27,28,29       All Day                       ITA Regionals                        Waterville, ME
10/19,10/20     All Day                       Wesleyan Invitational             Middletown, CT
10/26,27,28     All Day                       Bryant Mini Dual                    Smithfield, RI

Go Midd!

The Middlebury Men’s Tennis Coaching Staff

p.s. If there is anyone else that you think would like to receive these updates about our program or if there is another email you would like us to send them to, please feel free to send me a note at athomson@middlebury.edu.