June 1, 2010


The Middlebury College men's tennis team won its second NCAA Division III Men's Tennis Championship with a 5-1 victory over Amherst (27-11) at Oberlin College in Ohio. The Panthers end their season with a school-record 23 wins against just two losses. Middlebury's previous title also came over a NESCAC opponent, when they defeated Williams in '04. The National Championship is the 32nd for the school, with 30 of them coming in the last 15 years. The men's tennis team is now 141-23 over the past seven seasons with six NESCAC titles, four trips to the NCAA finals and two national titles.

            In doubles play, the Panthers took two of three matches to take a 2-1 lead early. Senior Andrew Thomson (W. Bloomfield, Mich.) and Andrew Lee (Eden Prairie, Minn.) got things rolling win an 8-5 win over Austin Chafetz and Robby Sorrel at #1, as Thomson sealed the win with a great drop shot. Seniors Eliot Jia (Mount Desert, Maine) and Conrad Olson (Waterloo, Belgium) made it 2-0 shortly thereafter, topping Mark Kahan and Moritz Koenig by a score of 8-3. Amherst got on the board in the third doubles contest, when Sean Doerfler and Wes Waterman picked up an 8-4 victory over senior Chris Mason (Owings Mills, Md.) and junior Andrew Peters (Baltimore, Md.).

            Middlebury controlled singles play, winning the first set in five of six matches. Thomson picked up the first win at #4, topping Waterman, 6-3, 6-0. Leading 3-1, the Panthers clinched the title with wins at #2 and #3 ending within moments of one another. Lee made it a 4-1 match, moving past Kahan 6-1, 6-3 in the #2 singles spot. Middlebury wasted little time after that, as Olson topped Koenig 6-2, 6-2 at #3 to seal the title for the Panthers.

            Jia was closing in on victory at #5, winning the first set 6-2, while holding a 4-1 lead in the second over Doerfler. Senior Peter Odell (Scarsdale, N.Y.) also captured the first set (6-3) at #6, and was leading Priit Gross 2-1 in the second. Peters dropped the first set to Chafetz 6-1 at #1, before answering with a 6-1 win in the second set. Chaftez led 2-1 in the third when the match was halted.

            Middlebury advanced to the championship match for the fourth time, after a 5-4 win over Washington-St. Louis in the semifinals

            Jia and Olson again had the Panthers off to a solid start, picking up an 8-4 win over John Watts and Kareem Farah at #2. The Bears evened the match when Danny Levy and Cameron Chiang were 8-6 victors over Mason and Peters in the #3 slot. The #1 doubles match was a battle, as Thomson and Lee were able to edge out Isaac Stein and Max Wood, 9-8 (7-2). Thomson/Lee led 7-6, but then found themselves trailing 7-8 before forcing the tiebreaker.

            Jia continued to roll in singles play, picking up a 6-3, 6-1 win over Levy at #5. The Panther lead increased to 4-1 when Lee was a 6-3, 6-0 winner in the second slot over Stein. Middlebury was one point away from victory, with the four other singles matches going into the third set.

            Farah led a comeback for the Bears, defeating Odell 7-6, 6-4 at #6, before Max Woods earned a three-set victory over Thomson at #4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. Middlebury's lead was now at 4-3 with two singles matches remaining.

            Watts pulled out a three-set (6-3, 3-6, 6-2) victory at #1 over Peters to tie the match at 4-4 with the Olson/Adam Putterman match remaining in the third set. Just seconds after the match was tied at 4-4, Olson sealed the victory for Middlebury with a win over Adam Putterman at #3. Olson dropped the first set 6-2 before bouncing back with 6-2 and 6-2 wins in the next two sets to send the Panthers to the national championship match.

            Middlebury advanced to the NCAA semifinal for the seventh time in eight years with a 5-0 win over N.C. Wesleyan in the quarters.

            The Panthers jumped out quickly, taking a 3-0 advantage after doubles play. Jia and Olson gave Middlebury its first point with an 8-3 win over Artsiom Prostak and Marcelo Prata at #2 doubles. Mason and Peters won an 8-5 match over Alexey Rumyantsev and Clayton Sonn at #3, before Thomson and Lee capped the sweep with an 8-3 win over Anton Filonov and Ramon Garcia at #1.

            The match ended quickly in singles play, as Jia quickly dispatched of Sonn at #5, 6-0, 6-0 to make it a 4-0 lead. Odell sealed the victory in the sixth slot, earning a 6-0, 6-1 win over Prata. The Panthers had taken the first set in the other four singles matches, with Thomson nearing victory at #4, 6-4, 5-0.

            Three players made impressive runs at the NCAA singles and doubles championships following the national title. In singles play, 32 players took part, with Lee and Peters competing for the Panthers. Lee won three matches, including a 6-3, 6-1 win over Dillon Pottish of Emory in the quarterfinals, before falling to eventual champion John Watts (Wash. U.), 7-6 (7-3), 6-3. Peters picked up two wins in singles play, before falling in the quarterfinals to Chris Goodwin of Emory, 7-6 (10-8), 6-3.

            In doubles play, Lee and Thomson began the round of 16 by dropping the first set to their opponent's from Texas-Tyler, before coming back to win 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. The duo cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 win in the quarters, before falling 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to a pair from Trinity (Texas) in the semifinals.

• Men's tennis final record: 23-2