Middlebury Moves to NESCAC Semis Before Falling to Williams

Jacob Ellen won twice on Saturday at No. 2.
Jacob Ellen won twice on Saturday at No. 2.

The 17th-ranked Panther men's squash team split a pair of matches during the NESCAC Tournament on Saturday in the Bostwick Family Squash Center. After receiving a bye through the first round, second-seeded Middlebury recorded a 9-0 win in the quarterfinals over No. 7 seed and 24th-ranked Tufts before falling to third-seeded and 18th-ranked Williams, 5-4. The Panthers (11-5) return to play on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. in the third-place match against fourth-seeded and 21st-ranked Bates.

In the win over Tufts, six of Middlebury's nine victories came in three games. Wins were posted by Jack Kagan at No. 3 over Marco Rodriguez (11-4, 11-9, 11-4), John Epley in the No. 6 slot against Dillon O'Shea (11-8, 11-4, 11-9) and Thomas Wolpow at the bottom of the ladder over Aiden Porges (11-7, 10-12, 11-3, 11-7). Jacob Ellen cruised in the second position over Konrad LaDow (11-2, 11-2, 11-4), while Alex Merrill clinched the match with his win at No. 8 against Brett Raskopf (11-5, 13-11, 11-5).

Justin Ghaeli lost the first game, but rebounded and took three straight en route to a four-game victory atop the lineup against Raghav Kumar (10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 11-2), while Teddy Best battled back from a 2-0 deficit for a five-game triumph over Will Dewire at No. 5 (9-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-4). Three-game wins from Wiatt Hinton over Connor Wind at No. 7 (11-6, 11-6, 15-13) and Nick Bermingham in the fourth spot against Alan Litman (11-4, 11-3, 11-7) rounded out the scoring.

Against Williams in the semifinals, Merrill gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead with a four-game victory at No. 9 over Ben Eisenberg (8-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-4). William Cembalest doubled the Middlebury advantage, outlasting Wyatt Khosrowshahi (11-6, 5-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-8) at No. 3.

The Ephs cut the lead in half behind a three-game win in the eighth spot. Ellen was victorious at No. 2 over Carl Shuck (11-6, 2-11, 13-11, 11-3), while Best made the score 4-1 in favor of Middlebury with a five-game win against Krish Bhavnani at No. 6 (11-9, 10-12, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8).

Williams claimed the final four matches to finish, including a thrilling five-game win at No. 4, for the final 5-4 tally.