Mixed Results for Men’s and Women’s Tennis, Both at Home and on the Road

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Mixed Results for Men’s and Women’s Tennis, Both at Home and on the Road

By Andrew Rigas

Both the Middlebury men’s and women’s tennis teams showed that they can compete with the best players and teams in New England at the 2014 ITA/USTA New England Regional Championships this past weekend, Sept. 26-28.

The men’s team hosted the championship at the Proctor Courts during the day and the Nelson Recreational Center at night, giving themselves the opportunity to play at home for the second time this fall. 

In men’s singles, Jackson Frons ’16 made a spectacular run to the semifinals of a field of 64 before bowing out to Michael Chen of Wesleyan 6-3, 6-1. 

Coach Bob Hansen attributed Frons’ spectacular play to his change in playing style. 

“He played a much more aggressive brand of tennis that we have been moving towards since he joined us, and I was extremely pleased with his effort,” Hansen said.

Chen proved to be the Middlebury squad’s nemesis all weekend as he defeated Noah Farrell ’18 in the previous round 6-2, 6-0. All the same, Farrell advanced to the quarterfinals by winning his first three matches handily in straight sets. 

Coach Hansen has been thrilled with the first-year’s play so far during the fall season. 

“Noah continued to shine, defeating three strong opponents in straight sets,” Hansen commented.  

Farrell’s teammates Allen Jackson ’16 and Ari Smolyar ’16 reached the rounds of 32 and 16 respectively. Jackson triumphed in his first match 6-4, 7-5 before falling in the following round 6-2, 6-0. 

Smolyar, coming off his victory at the Middlebury Invitational two weekends ago, won easily in straight sets in the first two rounds 6-0, 6-1 and 6-2, 6-3. In his third match, Smolyar suffered a tough defeat in the form of a tightly-contested three set match ended in a tiebreaker.

The team’s three doubles tandems also showed their chops draw as they all won at least one match in their draw. The pairs of Smolyar and Courtney Mountifield ’15, along with Palmer Campbell ’16 and Kyle Schlanger ’18 both progressed to the quarterfinals of the bracket before bowing out in that round. 

Smolyar and Mountifield lost at the hands of the eventual champions, Pierre Planche and Christopher Ellis of Bates, 8-5. The pair of Chris Frost ’15 and Peter Heidrich ’15, who had won the Middlebury Invitational doubles championship, got off to a promising start with 8-5 win in their first match but went on to fall 6-8 in the second round.

Hansen said he was particularly pleased with his team, whicj demonstrated that they had the depth to compete with others in this very strong, deep region. 

The Panthers get a well-deserved break this week before traveling to Bates for the Wallach Invitational on October 11 and 12.

The women’s team trekked to Cambridge, Mass. to see several players succeed this weekend. Alexandra Fields ’17, the 2013 ITA Rookie of the Year and the first seed in the bracket, won her first match in straight sets 7-5, 6-1, but suffered defeat in the following match to end her pursuit of the championship prematurely. 

Kaysee Orozco ’17 also began her weekend with a win in straight sets, only to bow out in the following match just like her teammate Fields.

Three pairs from the women’s squad competed in the doubles draw. Fields and Lily Bondy ’17 were the only duo to post a victory, winning their first match easily 8-1 before losing 8-4. The other two pairs, consisting of Orozco and Jen Sundstrom ’17, and Katie Paradies ’15 and Shannon Gibbs ‘18, were defeated in the first round.

The women’s team will be back at it this weekend, Oct. 3-5, as they host the annual Middlebury Invitational.

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