May 8, 2012

The Panther men’s tennis team will make its 11th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament when they travel to Johns Hopkins for a regional from May 11-13. The Panthers will take on the winner of the Penn St.-Harrisburg vs. Grove City match on Saturday, May 12th. If victorious, they will battle the Johns Hopkins/Elizabethtown winner on Sunday, May 13th in the regional final.

Middlebury dropped a hard-fought 5-1 battle to Amherst at Williams in the NESCAC semifinals. The Panthers fell to 13-6 on the season, while Amherst improved to 28-2.

Every doubles match was tight, with 2-3 needing extra play. After falling 8-5 at #1, sophomore Teddy Fitzgibbons (Mission Hills, Kan.) and junior William Oberrender (Edina, Minn.) outlasted Wes Waterman and Chris Dale at #2 9-7 to even the match. The Jeffs took the #3 doubles contest 9-8 for a 2-1 advantage.

Amherst made it a 3-1 match as Waterman topped senior Eric Vehovec (Toronto, Ont.) 7-5, 6-2 at #6 before Andrew Jung defeated Fitzgibbons 6-4, 6-2 at #5. Falling 7-5 in the first set, junior Alec Parower (Scarsdale, N.Y.) went down 6-4 in the second to Austin Chafetz, as the Jeffs earned the 5-1 win.

Amherst narrowly won the first set in five of six singles contests, earning the victories by a total of nine games.

Middlebury advanced to the NESCAC semifinals with a 5-4 win over Bates in a first-round match played at Williams.

Junior Spencer Lunghino (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.) finished off Pierre Planche in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, to send Middlebury into the semifinals. Bates took a 2-1 lead out of doubles play with the tandems of Matt Bettles/Robert Crampton and Timmy Berg/Planche providing victories. Middlebury quickly seized control of the four singles matches they needed for a team win.

First, sophomore Brantner Jones (Winnetka, Ill.) knocked off Berg 6-2, 6-2 at one singles. Fitzgibbons breezed 6-0, 6-0 at five to make it 3-2 Middlebury. After Crampton tied the match at three with a 6-0, 6-2 win at second singles, Vehovec fought off Bates’ Ben Bogard at six singles for a 6-0, 6-4 victory.

Bettles won 6-2, 6-3 at three singles to tie the match at four, but by that time Lunghino had a 6-4, 5-2 lead over Planche at four and finished him off 6-3 to send Middlebury to the semifinals.

• Men’s tennis record: 13-6

• Up next: 5/11-13 –NCAA Regional @ Johns Hopkins