Men’s Tennis Struggles Over Weekend, Goes 1-2


Hattie LeFavour

Lubomir Cuba ’19 hits a backhand shot during the April 7 match against Emory.


Lubomir Cuba ’19 hits a backhand shot during the April 7 match against Emory.

After starting the season 7-0, the Panthers are coming off of a tough stretch, winning two matches and losing five since March 25. This past weekend the Panthers fell to steadily improving No. 7 Wesleyan and No. 3 Emory, each by a score of 6-3. 

The No. 2 ranked Panthers started off uncharacteristically against No. 7 Wesleyan with a 1-2 deficit after doubles. The No. 1 and No. 2 doubles teams both lost just their third matches of the season. The Cardinals bested the Panthers in singles with four wins despite senior captain Noah Farrell’s dominant victory over Cardinal first-year standout from Norway, Peter Anker. 

Despite the upset loss, the Panthers had a quick turnaround with Connecticut College and Emory ready for a Sunday afternoon matchup. Middlebury rested their starters and breezed past the Camels in preparation for the No. 3 Eagles. 

The Panthers’ doubles corps started off the match with an unusual 0-3 line. The Eagles’ doubles teams have been a bright point of their season, with none of their teams having lost more than three matches. Still, Panthers Coach Bob Hansen adds, “Our doubles was disappointing this weekend but we will work to lift our level in this area.” Junior Weston Brach echoed the sentiment, saying, “Going down 0-3 after doubles definitely wasn’t the plan…We knew we would have to come up with a special singles effort, and unfortunately we couldn’t get it done this time.” 

Even so, the top of the singles ladder for the Panthers made a formidable effort. Farrell was flawless again with a 6-1 6-1 victory, pushing him to 8-3 on the spring. Of Farrell, Hansen said, “[He] was sensational in singles this weekend. He was locked in similar to the level of his sophomore season when he was the top-ranked player in the country.”

Hansen had similar praise for Lubomir Cuba ’19. As he cruised by Eagles Jonathan Jemison ’19, who is 11-2 on the spring, Hansen notes that Cuba, “broke out of his singles funk with a brilliant performance against Emory and one of the very best players in the country in dominating form.” 

With the rock-solid top three, the Panthers are still looking for the right combination down the ladder, as Nate Eazor ’21 and Alex Vanezis ’20 split time at #6 singles this past weekend. Hansen says the team is, “still looking for a strong player at six singles and between [Vanezis] and [Eazor] we should be very competitive…if either takes a jump.” 

Finding the right guys for the job might be what the Panthers need to bounce back as conference play ramps up this weekend against No. 17 Tufts and No. 6 Williams. Dropping the match to No. 7 Wesleyan does not bode well for this weekend against perennial rival Williams. As Hansen puts it, “As I said at the beginning of the season, we have the potential to be one of the top teams in the country but could also end up fifth in our conference if we don’t tighten things up.”