MIDDLEBURY, VT – Saturday marked the #9 Ephs' first match since March 29 against Depauw, which was their last match in California. After seven matches in ten days, the equally long break gave the team ample time to prepare for #4 Middlebury, one of the strongest teams in the nation. Despite a strong start in doubles, Middlebury proved their ranking in singles play, finishing the match 5-4.
Strong doubles play gave the Ephs a 3-0 advantage that provided a great security blanket for the rest of the match. Alex Taylor '20 and Brian Grodecki '18 remained undefeated on the season, winning decisively 8-3. Benjamin Lebowitz '20 and Sachin Raghavan '18 had a slightly more difficult match, but were able to put an end to their match 8-6. However, Jordan Sadowsky '18 and Rohan Shastri '17 had to earn every point over Hamid Derbani and Kyle Schlanger, as they had to go deep into a tiebreak to win their match.
"We came out great in doubles and played on our terms," said head coach Dan Greenberg. It would take dominant singles play from the Panthers to overcome the 3 match deficit.
They answered that call, however, and mounted a furious comeback. Middlebury notched four 2-set victories in a row, suddenly turning the tide of the match in their favor. Alex Taylor came out with an extremely hard-fought victory to keep Williams in the match. After losing the first set 1-6 to Timo van der Geest, he won the next set in a tiebreak, and then won the super-tiebreak 10-8. His effort was not enough, however, to get a win, as senior Allen Jackson clinched the victory with a win over Ananth Raghavan.
"We allowed Middlebury to take it to us in singles, which they did very well from the very start," said Greenberg. "It was a brutal loss, but also a learning experience that we can take to our match tomorrow."
After a tough return to the east, Williams (8-3) will look to beat the #8 Wesleyan Cardinals (6-1) in Middletown, Connecticut. The match will be played at 10:00 AM.
Middlebury 5, Williams 4
Lubomir Cuba (M) def. Rohan Shastri (W) – 6-2, 6-0
William de Quant (M) def. Brian Grodecki (W) – 6-4, 6-1
Hamid Derbani (M) def. Sachin Raghavan (W) – 6-4, 6-1
Kyle Schlanger (M) def. Deepak Indrakanti (W) – 6-2, 6-3
Alex Taylor (W) def. Timo van der Geest (M) – 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 10-8
Allen Jackson (M) def. Ananth Raghavan (W) – 6-0, 6-2