After NCAA Win, Men’s Tennis Returns Strong

By MIGUEL ESPINOSA

The men’s tennis team will begin the fall season as the reigning NCAA DIII Men’s Tennis Champions. On May 23, the team defeated NESCAC rival Bowdoin College to secure the program’s third national championship and the school’s 35th title since 1995. Despite falling to Bowdoin with a 5-3 score in the NESCAC final, the Panthers managed to deliver a retaliatory blow to the Polar Bears, winning the NCAA, coincidentally, with the same score of 5-3.

A new season is fresh upon us, however, and Middlebury must prove itself again as the superior tennis squad. Three key contributors to last year’s run, Timo van der Geest ’18, William de Quant ’18 and ITA DIII All-American Kyle Schlanger ’18, have since graduated. All three won at least more than half of their doubles and singles matches. Schlanger was especially productive last year, with a 25-8 singles record and a 35-6 doubles record.

Fortunately, the Panthers will retain a large portion of their depth and talent, thanks to the return of senior Lubomir Cuba. Cuba, who transferred from the University of Michigan after his freshman year, has been nothing short of a blessing for men’s tennis. In his 2016-2017 campaign, Cuba put up a 29-3 singles record and a 24-6 doubles record. In 2017-2018, Cuba went 23-7 and 30-5 for singles and doubles, respectively. Throughout his tenure as a Panther, Cuba has been named 2017 NESCAC Player of the Year and was recognized by the ITA as an All-American for both doubles and singles in two consecutive years.

Other contributors to watch are senior Noah Farrell, who went 12-2 last season in singles; senior Peter Martin, who posted a 24-16 record for doubles; junior Alex Vanezis; and sophomores Andre Xiao and Nate Eazor. Weston Brach ’20, proud son of the Greater Boston Area, should also prove dangerous this upcoming season.

The Panthers will begin their dominance September 15 and 16 at the Middlebury Invitational.

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