May 10, 2010

The top-seeded and top-ranked Middlebury College men's tennis team won its second straight NESCAC Championship, and sixth in the last seven years, with a 6-0 win over No. 3 seed Williams College. The Panthers won four straight titles from 2004-07, before winning back-to-back championships in 2009 and again in 2010.

            In doubles play, Middlebury's top pairing of seniors Andrew Thomson (W. Bloomfield, Mich.) and Andrew Lee (Eden Prarie, Minn.) cruised to an 8-2 win over Bryan Chow and Dicken Chaplin to set the tone. Shortly after, senior Chris Mason (Owings Mills, Md.) and junior Andrew Peters (Baltimore, Md.) defeated Williams' Felix Sun and Richard Meyer 8-5 at number three, before senior Eliot Jia (Mount Desert, Maine) and senior Conrad Olson (Waterloo, Belgium) closed out the doubles sweep with an 8-5 win over Nick Lebedoff and Will Petrie at number two.

            In singles action, Lee defeated Nick Lebedoff in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2 to put the Panthers on the verge of the title. With both Olson and Thomson closing in on wins at numbers three and four, it seemed only a matter of time before Middlebury would be named champions of the NESCAC once again. Olson closed out his win over Jeremy Weinberger 6-4, 6-2, to earn the decisive fifth point, but in customary fashion all matches were allowed to finish the points that were already underway. With the match decided, Thomson closed out a three-set win over Bryan Chow on that very point, winning 6-3, 6-1 after dropping the opening frame 0-6.

            In the three remaining singles bouts, Peters was just one game from finishing off Felix Sun, holding a 7-6, 5-2 lead when the day came to an end. Zach Weiss was very close to earning the first team point for Williams, leading senior Peter Odell (Scarsdale, N.Y.) 5-4 in the second set after winning the first stanza 7-5. In the final match, Richard Meyer dropped the first frame to Jia 4-6, but rebounded for a 6-1 win in the second set, and held a 1-0 lead in the third when play halted.

            With the win, Middlebury's record improves to 18-2 as the Panthers earn the conference's automatic berth to the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

            Middlebury advanced to the NESCAC Championship with a 5-0 win over Trinity Saturday afternoon in the semifinals. Originally scheduled to be played at Amherst College, Saturday's semifinal matches were moved indoors to Hampshire College.

            Middlebury did not surrender more than four games in any doubles match. Thomson and Lee defeated Spencer Feldman and Anson McCook at No. 1, 8-4, while Peters and Mason took care of David Dessau and Charles McConnell by the same score at No. 3. In the No. 2 match, Olson and Jia won against Trinity's Dan Couzens and Rich Bonfiglio, 8-3.

            Thomson and Odell put in nearly identical scores at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, to seal the 5-0 win for Middlebury. Thomson earned a 6-2, 6-1 win over Couzens in the fourth match, with Odell defeating Charles McConnell in the fifth, 6-2, 6-2.

            Two singles matches were cut short when play was stopped, with Middlebury holding a lead in each. Peters was ahead of Feldman at No. 1, 6-2, 4-1, while Lee and McCook were tied at 4-4 in their second set after Lee won the first, 6-3.

            With only four courts at Hampshire College, the No. 3 and No. 6 matches had yet to begin when Middlebury earned its fifth point. 

• Men's tennis record: 18-2

• Up next: NCAA's - TBA