Cuba, Blazye Lead Tennis

By ANDREW RIGAS

The men’s and women’s tennis teams competed in the biggest tournament of the fall season, the ITA Regional Championships on Friday to Sunday, Sept. 29 to Oct. 1.

The men’s team hosted the tournament, and, for the first time in three years, a Middlebury player did not win the regional title. In the women’s tournament at Williams, Catherine Blazye ’20 led the Panthers by reaching the quarterfinal round in both singles and doubles, as she continued her strong start to the fall season.

Lubo Cuba ’19 and the pair of Cuba and Will de Quant ’18 entered the tournament as the one-seed in the singles and doubles draws, respectively, but neither emerged as winner.

Cuba did reach the semifinals before falling to Wesleyan first-year Adam Finkelman 6–2, 6–2. In the first day of competition on Friday, he defeated Amherst’s Kevin Ma from Amherst 6–3, 7–6 (4), and Bowdoin’s Justin Patel 6–4, 7–5. Then on Saturday, Cuba held off Sachin Raghavan from Williams 6–3, 6–7 (6), 6–3, before handling Luke Tercek from Bowdoin 6–2, 6–0 to reach the semifinals. Sunday morning, Cuba fell to Finkleman, ending his hopes of repeating as regional champion.

De Quant and Noah Farrell ’19 advanced to the quarterfinals in the singles. De Quant did so by defeating Bowdoin’s Larry Zhao 7 – 6 (5), 4–6, 6–3 and Wesleyan’s Cam Daniels 3–6, 6–2, 7–5 on Friday, then MIT’s Sean Ko 7–6 (5), 6–3 on Saturday. Later in the day, de Quant fell to Finkelman too, 6–2, 6–2.

Farrell won against Brandon Howard from Nichols 6–0, 6–0, Anupreeth Coramutla from Brandeis 6–3, 6–1, and Ananth Raghavan 7–5, 6–1. In the quarterfinals, eventual champion Brian Grodecki from Williams beat Farrell 6–3, 6–3.

Kyle Schlanger ’18 and Timo van der Geest ’18 also competed in singles. Schlanger reached the round of 16 before losing to second-seeded Steven Chen from Wesleyan, while van der Geest bowed out in the second round.

In doubles, Cuba and de Quant were upset in their first match of the tournament, when Nathan Kaplan and Sean Wei defeated them 8–3.

The pair of Farrell and Peter Martin ’19, after losing its first match in the Middlebury Invitational two weekends ago, made a run to the finals of the doubles bracket. Bowdoin’s Tercek and Grant Urken took down Farrell and Martin 6–4, 6–3 in the finals, denying them the regional championship and a spot in the ITA doubles national championships.

Van der Geest and Schlanger, Middlebury’s other doubles pair, won its first two matches but then lost in the quarterfinals to Williams’ Grodecki and Alex Taylor.

Blazye made the longest run on the women’s side, advancing to the quarterfinal round. She won her two matches on Friday over Katherine Wiley from Tufts 6–4, 6–3 and Hannah Sweeney from Bates 6–4, 7–5. On Saturday, she made her way to the quarterfinals by dismissing Chloe Henderson 6–0, 6–1, but lost to sixth-seeded Leah Bush from Williams 6–7 (5), 7–6 (3), 11–9 there.

Heather Boehm ’20 and Skylar Schossberger ’20 also played their way into the round of 16.

Boehm came from behind to defeat Julia Cancio from Williams 4–6, 6–1, 7–5 and held off Polina Kiseleva from Wesleyan 6–4, 4–6, 6–0 on Friday. The following morning, fifth-seeded Mina Karamercan from Tufts beat Boehm 6–4, 6–1.

Schossberger earned the opportunity to play on Saturday by defeating Trinity’s Vanja Babunski 6–1, 4–6, 6–0 and Tufts’ Margot Shea 6–4, 6–0. On Saturday morning, she fell to Williams’ Mia Gancayco 6–2, 6–2.

Katherine Hughes ’20 and Maddi Stow ’20 added first round victories in singles, but bowed out the next round.

In doubles, the fifth-seeded pair of Blazye and Stow ran into the quarterfinals. They lost a close 8–6 match there to Williams’ Henderson and Rachel Cross. The third-seeded pair of Hughes and Schossberger won their first match 8–3, but also lost 8–6, this time in the round of 16 to Amherst’s Avery Wagman and Anya Ivenitsky.

The team did so well this weekend,” said Blazye. “We had 6 players gain places in the main draw which is unbelievable. The results showed how our hard work is paying off already, and this is just the beginning. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds.”

The women return to action when they play in the Harvard Scramble on Friday to Sunday, Oct. 13 to 15.

The men will travel to Princeton this weekend to participate in the Farnsworth Invitational on Friday to Sunday, Oct. 6 to 8.

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