Men’s Tennis Competes at Home

By MIGUEL ESPINOSA

Both the Proctor and Nelson tennis courts were busy on Saturday, Sept. 15 and Sunday, Sept. 16. The Middlebury Invitational, hosted by men’s tennis, brought together Division III teams located throughout the Northeast. NESCAC rivals such as Bates, Colby and Tufts were present, while out-of-conference teams such as RPI, Skidmore and Brandeis were also invited.

The invitational consisted of six brackets over the course of two days. Four of the brackets were singles, while the remaining two were doubles. Men’s tennis senior captain and two-time All-NESCAC First Team selectee Lubomir Cuba was placed on the ‘A’ Singles Flight, along with fellow senior captain Noah Farrell and sophomore Nate Eazor.

First-year Stanley Morris and David Vilys were on the ‘B’ Singles Flight, while juniors Weston Brach, Aleks Samets and sophomore Thorne Gregory competed in the ‘C’ Singles Flight. Senior captain Cole Sutton and Zachary Hilty ’22 were the last Panthers playing singles in the ‘D’ Flight.

For doubles, two pairs of Panthers, Cuba and Eazor and Farrell and Martin, were placed in the ‘A’ bracket. Sutton and Gregory were paired together in the ‘B’ Bracket.

Middlebury saw varied success in the singles brackets. Most notably, Stanley Morris won the championship within the ‘B’ Singles Flight against Brandeis’s Anupreeth Coramutla. Morris was originally the second seed in the bracket and had defeated Tufts’ Zach Shaff, Skidmore’s Jack McClaren and even fellow Panther Adam Guo ’21 before advancing to the championship round.

In a shocking upset, top-seeded Cuba fell to Bates’s Pieter Wernick in the first round. The other Panthers of the ‘A’ Singles Flight, Farrell and Eazor, were also eliminated in the same round. Vilys, Martin, Samets, Hilty and Sutton advanced to the quarterfinals, while Brach managed to reach the semifinals before losing to Brandeis’s Rajan Vohra.

“I was able to serve and return well in both matches, which allowed me to be more offensive than my opponents early on,” said Brach. “Since I served well, I was able to approach the net a lot and hit some volley winners.

“Vohra did a good job of pushing me back in the court with high topspin shots, making it difficult for me to approach the net and put away volleys. I also had a low first-serve percentage, which limited my ability to dictate early on in the points.”

For doubles, pairs Cuba and Eazor and Sutton and Gregory finished at the quarterfinals for their respective brackets. Farrell and Martin managed to reach the semi-finals.

Currently, the men’s tennis team is preparing for the ITA Regional Championships taking place from Friday, Sept. 28 to Sunday, Sept. 30.

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