In a match which lasted more than five hours, Middlebury saw its hopes of winning a third NESCAC Men's Tennis Championship in the last four years come up short, falling by a 5-3 score Sunday to top-seeded Bowdoin. The back-and-forth contest took place indoors at the Bay Road Tennis Club. The Polar Bears (19-1) will receive the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament when the selections are announced on Monday afternoon, while the Panthers (20-4) will likely earn an at-large berth.
Middlebury took an all-important 2-1 lead after doubles play. Lubomir Cuba and Kyle Schlanger topped Luke Tercek and Grant Urken by an 8-6 score at No. 1 to start things off. Timo van der Geest and Peter Martin followed at in the third flight with an 8-4 win over Gil Roddy and Larry Zhao. The No. 2 Polar Bear pairing sliced the Middlebury advantage in half with an 8-4 victory.
In singles play, Bowdoin leveled the match at 2-2 with a straight-set win in the third flight. The Panthers regained the lead when Cuba tallied a 6-4, 7-6 (1) triumph in the top spot over Urken.
The Polar Bears took their first lead at 4-3 with three-set come-from-behind wins at No. 6 and No. 2, respectively. Bowdoin continued that momentum, clinching the match with a three-set triumph at No. 5 for the 5-3 victory.
In the lone match remaining on the court when the decision took place, Schlanger dropped the first set 7-5 to Jerry Jiang at No. 5, but evened the match with a 6-3 victory in set number two. Jiang grabbed the first two games of the third set.