The defending national champion Panthers in tennis remain undefeated after a home weekend during which they beat two ranked opponents in No. 10 Brandeis and No. 33 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Brandeis made an incredible jump from the mid-20’s in the national rankings after a win over 11th-ranked Pomona-Pitzer. They were the first to arrive at the Nelson Recreation Center to challenge the Panthers. First up were the doubles matches as captain Lubo Cuba ’19 and partner Nate Eazor ’21 secured an 8-6 victory to tally their ninth win as a duo for the year. Aleksander Samets ’20 and Andre Xiao ’21 teamed up to notch their 10th win together in a tight contest that took them to a tiebreak to win 8-7 (7-3). Last off the courts were Peter Martin ’19 and Alex Vanezis ’20 in a new doubles pairing that saw Martin grab his 11th doubles win of the year, completing the sweep for the Panthers and giving them a 3-0 lead going into singles play.
The lead certainly helped the Panthers, as they saw Brandeis secure three wins in the singles portion of the day. First-year Stanley Morris lost a straight-set contest playing up at the No. 2 as the team went without veteran standout Noah Farrell ’19. The defeat was just the second loss of the entire season for Morris. The Panthers, suffering from five of their players playing a spot higher than normal, saw Xiao lose at the No. 3 spot in an incredibly tight third set tiebreak to the Judges’ Adam Tzeng, a four-star recruit out of Eagle, Idaho.
Another Brandeis first-year shined at the No. 5 spot against Middlebury’s Eazor, as four-star recruit Jeffrey Chen cruised to a 6-3, 6-0 victory. However, the experienced Panther squad made the difference down the stretch. Cuba prevailed in a straight-set victory that pushed him to a tiebreak in the second set as he remains undefeated this spring.
Adam Guo ’21 continued his impressive campaign with his fourth straight win of the spring, bringing him to 11-4 overall, all coming from a player who rarely saw time in dual matches. He steamrolled over Brandeis’ Nikhil Das, 6-1, 6-2. Vanezis rounded out the scoring with an easy straight-set victory for his third win of the spring.
The next day would be a little bit different indeed as the Panthers went on to blank the Rensselaer Red Hawks. Bigger tests lie ahead as the Panthers fly out to California just after classes end for their annual spring break trip to California.
Notable competition for the Panthers’ trip includes Division I UC Irvine, who is 9-4 on the year, sitting atop the Big West conference standings. At the end of their trip they will face perhaps some of their most important opponents of the year in recurring west coast rivals No. 14 Pomona-Pitzer and No. 6 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.