The top-ranked Middlebury men's tennis team fell in the NCAA Semifinals by a 5-4 score to third-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (32-3). The contest took place indoors at the Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Panthers finish their season with a 21-4 record, while the Stags will play second-ranked Emory in Wednesday afternoon's championship match. Tuesday's contest marked the fourth-straight year the program has reached the NCAA Semifinal.
Middlebury jumped out to a 3-0 advantage after doubles on Tuesday. The top Panther tandem of Lubomir Cuba and William de Quant rattled off five of the last seven games for an 8-4 victory over Nikolai Parodi and Daniel Morkovine. At No. 3, the duo of Timo van der Geest and Peter Martin doubled the Middlebury advantage in similar fashion with an 8-4 decision over Jake Williams and Julian Gordy. In the second flight, the Middlebury team of Hamid Derbani and Kyle Schlanger broke the Stag team at 5-5, but Jake Berber and Glenn Hull broke back and held serve for a 7-6 lead. The Panther team rattled off the last three games, including a cross-court volley winner for the decisive point.
In singles play, the Stags made it a 3-1 match when Glenn Hull defeated de Quant by scores of 6-3, 7-5 in the second slot. CMS cut the Panther advantage to one at 3-2 when Alex Brenner won at No. 6 in a pair of tiebreakers by scores of 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5) against Allen Jackson. The Stags knotted the match at 3-3 when Parodi came from a set down for a 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-5 victory atop the lineup over Cuba, winning the final two games of the third set for the point.
The Stags took the lead for the first time by a 4-3 count when Daniel Park rallied from a set down for a 6-7 (3), 6-0, 6-4 triumph in the fifth spot over van der Geest. Park jumped out to a 5-1 advantage in the decisive set, holding off a late surge from the Panther.
The last match remaining featured Schlanger and Max Macey for CMS. Macey claimed the opening set by a 6-4 score. Trailing 5-3 in the second set, Schlanger fought back from a 5-3 deficit, tying the set at 5-5. Macey broke Schlanger to make the score 6-5 and held serve for the victory.
The Panther men will also have two players compete in the NCAA Division III Singles and Doubles Tournament that will take place Thursday through Saturday at the same complex. Cuba and de Quant will be two of 32 individuals vying for the singles crown, while Cuba and de Quant will battle 15 other duos from across the country for the doubles title. The draws will be announced on Wednesday.
The matchup was the fourth meeting in the last five NCAA Tournaments between the two programs and the 15th time overall. The Panthers earned a 6-3 victory during their spring trip to Texas earlier this year. The teams have played five times overall in the NCAA Tournament with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps winning each time.