Men’s Tennis Team Wins Pair at Dartmouth, Bates


Head Coach Bob Hansen instructs a doubles pairing during a break in the action. (Campus/Lok Sze Leung)

By Lok Sze Leung

The Middlebury men’s tennis team heads into the last part of the fall season with tremendous confidence after the men split into two squads to pick up wins at both the Dartmouth Shootout in Hanover, N.H. as well as the Bates College Wallach Invitational in Lewiston, Maine, Oct. 5-7.

“[It was] nice to know our guys can successfully compete against Division I teams,” said Head Coach Bob Hansen of the group that played at Dartmouth. “[There were] tons of stars as everyone won matches.”

First-year Ari Smolyar ’16 won Flight no. 5 singles bracket. He won two straight-set victories over players from Stony Brook and Williams before defeating Eph Jose Raventtos 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in a grueling final match.

Senior captain Spencer Lunghino ’13 advanced to the finals of the Flight no. 4 singles draw after defeating challengers from Dartmouth and Williams. Lunghino fell to Justin Chan of the Big Green 5-7, 6-7 in a ferocious final.

Courtney Mountifield ’15 came in third place in Flight no. 3, overpowering a  Stony Brook opponent, 6-2, 6-3.

Rookies Palmer Campbell ’16 and junior Alex Johnston ’14 reached the semifinals in Flight no. 1b. Campbell was eliminated by Ghorbani of Dartmouth in a neck-to-neck 7-5, 6-4 decision, while Johnston had to withdraw from his semifinal match due to a tendinitis injury.

In the back draws, senior captains Alec Parower ’13, Will Oberrender ’13 and first-year Jackson Frons ’16 brought home the plates with an impressive showing in Flights no. 1a, no. 5 and no. 3 respectively.

In doubles action, the formidable duo of Johnston and Lunghino dominated the no. 1 bracket. They topped Dartmouth’s number one doubles pairing of Centenari and Ghorbani in the final, dropping just three games in the pro-set. Meanwhile, in the no. 3 round robin draw, winners Mountifield and Smolyar came away with three consecutive wins, including a 9-7 verdict on the Big Green pair of Todd and Isaza.

While eight Panthers competed at Dartmouth College among prominent Division I and III teams, four players travelled to Maine to match up against familiar NESCAC foes at Bates College.

“One of the strengths of our team is our depth, and that was on full display this weekend,” said Assistant Coach Adam Kent. “We only had four guys on the Bates trip, but we definitely competed well against some other full NESCAC teams.”

First-year Allen Jackson ’16 fought back from a set down to defeat Traff from Trinity in a super-tiebreaker in the opening round, but was one match short from booking a place in the “B” Flight singles final as he bowed down against Bowdoin’s Wolstencroft 5-7, 1-6.

The Panther no. 4 doubles tandem of sophomores Peter Heidrich ’15 and Chris Frost ’15 collected two wins over the no. 2 pairings of Bates and Bowdoin before losing to Seigel and Krems of Brandeis 8-9(2) in a seesaw match.

After a strong road performance this past weekend, the Panthers look to close out the fall at home the weekend of Oct. 26th through Oct. 28th. Then the team will reconvene in February after three months off.

“We plan on carrying this momentum into the off season as we train for the spring,” said Lunghino.

“Our goal for the off-season is pretty simple: work,” said Parower. “This is a very confident team, and I think a lot of our confidence stems from the fact that we know we are better prepared for every match than our opponents. We are all committed to our mission of winning a National Championship. When you have 16 guys that are willing to push themselves to the very maximum, you are dangerous.”