May 4, 2009

The Middlebury College men's tennis team won its fifth NESCAC Championship in the last six years with a 5-3 win over Amherst at Williams. The Panthers receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and will find out their fate when the pairings are announced late Monday night. Middlebury moves to 19-2 overall, earning its 11th consecutive win.

The Panthers' top player Conrad Olson (Waterloo, Belgium) eked out a third set tiebreaker, 10-8, to take the decisive fifth point over Amherst's Zach Lerner to clinch the win. Lerner ended up on the wrong end of tie-breaks, also falling in #1 doubles in a 7-3 tiebreaker. The win at number one doubles by rookie David Farah (Flint, Mich.) and junior Andrew Thomson (W. Bloomfield, Mich.) was critical, as Amherst swept the bottom two doubles matches for a 2-1 advantage heading into singles play.

Middlebury played brilliant singles play to swing the momentum back their way. Junior Elliot Jia (Mount Desert, Maine) took a quick win at court six, 6-1, 6-2, while sophomore Andrew Peters (Baltimore, Md.) followed at court four with a 6-2, 6-2 victory. Amherst's lone singles win came on court two, where Austin Chafetz won in straight sets over Thompson - 6-4, 6-2.

With the match knotted at three apiece, junior Andrew Lee (Eden Prairie, Minn.) captured a win at court three while the matches at courts one and five headed into their third sets. The battle at court one was an exciting finish as Olson sealed the victory and the NESCAC championship for Middlebury.

Middlebury advanced to the finals after a 5-1 win over Bowdoin in a NESCAC semifinal match-up at Williams. Middlebury took a 2-1 advantage into singles play with two routine doubles wins at courts two and three. Bowdoin's Oscar Pena and Jamie Neely managed to take a win at court one with an 8-5 defeat of Middlebury's Farah and Thompson.

The middle of the lineup cruised to two quick victories for Middlebury. Lee and Peters took straight set decisions at courts three and four, with Lee winning over Tyler Anderson by a 6-1, 6-4 result and Peters taking his match over Alex Caughron by a 6-1, 6-1 score. Thompson picked up the fifth point after a 7-5, 6-1 defeat over Pena.

For complete match results, see: http://www.middlebury.edu/athletics/sports/mens/tennis/
. Men's tennis record: 19-2
. Up next: NCAA Tournament