Hosting an NCAA Regional, the top-ranked Middlebury men’s tennis team advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals with a 5-1 win over Johns Hopkins played on the Proctor Tennis Courts. The Panthers advanced to Sunday’s final via a 5-0 victory on Saturday against Wilkes. Middlebury advances to the NCAA Quarterfinals for the 15th time in the last 16 years and will meet Whitman on Monday, May 21 at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center in Claremont, California.
On Saturday against the Colonels, Middlebury jumped out to a 3-0 advantage at the conclusion of doubles. The Panther duo of junior Noah Farrell (Wilton, Conn.) and senior William de Quant (Monaco, France) posted an 8-0 victory at No. 2 over Artyom Nabokin and Braddock Chow. A few minutes later, Middlebury doubled its lead when senior Timo van der Geest (Oegstgeest, Netherlands) and junior Peter Martin (Orinda, Calif.) tallied an 8-1 victory over Andrew Neidig and Larry Scartz in the third flight. The No. 1 duo of junior Lubomir Cuba (Massapequa Park, N.Y.) and senior Kyle Schlanger (Summerfield, N.C.) completed the sweep, winning the six of the last seven games on their way to 8-4 triumph over Courtney Murphy and Jonathan White.
In singles matches, the Panthers were victorious at No. 5 and No. 3 to seal the match. In the fifth spot, rookie Andre Xiao (Fremont, Calif.) defeated Ryan Simon (6-0, 6-1), while Schlanger clinched the match over Neidig at No. 3 (6-1, 6-1).
The remaining four matches went unfinished with Middlebury winning the first set on each court. Farrell claimed the opening set 6-1, but trailed 3-0 to Murphy in set number two, while de Quant earned the opening set 6-0 and led 4-0 in the second against Nabokin at No. 2. In the fourth position, rookie Nate Eazor (Dallas, Texas) was one game away from earning a point (6-0, 5-0), while van der Geest led 6-1 and 5-0 versus Scartz at the bottom of the lineup.
On Sunday against Johns Hopkins, the hosts grabbed a 2-1 lead after doubles play. The Panther duo of van der Geest and Martin picked up the first point at No. 3 with an 8-4 win over Johns Hopkins’ Vishnu Joshi and Vik Vasan. The Blue Jays evened the match when Joe Cartledge and Austin Gu won the final two games for a 9-7 victory over de Quant and Farrell in the second flight. The Panthers gained the lead headed to singles when Schlanger and Cuba held serve and then broke the serve of the Johns Hopkins’ duo of David Perez and Scott Thygesen for a 9-7 triumph in the top spot.
In the singles matches, Middlebury picked up its third point with a 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 5 from Eazor over Gu. Minutes later, de Quant made it 4-1 with a 6-1, 6-1 victory against Eric Yoo in the third flight, while Xiao clinched the match when he defeated Justin Kang at No. 6 by scores of 6-0, 6-4.
The three remaining matches on the courts went unfinished. Cuba took the opening set atop the lineup against Joshi (6-4), with Joshi clinging to a 4-3 edge in the second set. In the second flight, Farrell secured the first set 6-2 and led 5-4 in the second against Thygesen, while at No. 4, Schlanger won the opening set against Cody Kim by a 6-1 tally and led 5-4 and 30-0 when the match was decided.
• Men’s tennis record: 22-4
• Up Next: 5/21 vs. Whitman – (NCAA Quarterfinal; Claremont, California)