WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – On Saturday, the #5 Williams College Ephs (8-2) played their spring home opener against the #3 Middlebury Panthers (10-2). Last year, the Panthers were one of the Ephs' toughest opponents, in both team play and in individual tournaments. In most aspects, Middlebury got the better of Williams; they advanced further than the Ephs in the NCAA tournament, they won both the regional singles and doubles individual titles, and they beat the Ephs 5-4 in their only match. Today, however, the Eph men flipped the script, beating the vistors 5-4 in a hard-fought match.
The Ephs relied on their doubles play to gain a huge early advantage. Williams took each of the three matches, and all three matches needed to go beyond 8 games. Deepak Indrakanti '19 and Brian Grodecki '18 won 9-7, but the other two groups need to go into a tiebreak before they could close out their matches. The three-point lead proved crucial for the rest of the match, as Middlebury was tough in singles, winning four of the six matches.
Needing only two wins to clinch the match for the Ephs, Grodecki and Ananth Raghavan '20 stepped up. They both dug deep and won long matches to finish it off. Grodecki's win was especially significant for the Ephs, as he beat junior Lubomir Cuba, the defending NCAA singles champion. Raghavan, meanwhile, has been playing phenomenally lately, winning his fifth match in a row.
"Very tough win for us today," remarked Eph head coach Dan Greenberg '08. "We were fortunate that the three doubles matches went our way, because it was tight at every spot. Grodecki dug in for a huge comeback against the defending NCAA singles champion, which set the stage for Ananth to clinch. He was rock solid in the last two sets.
"Now, we have to gear up for another match tomorrow."
The win moved the Ephs to 8-2 on the season. Tomorrow they play another NESCAC foe, Wesleyan (2-4), who beat Hamilton 8-1 today. The ephs and Cardinals will take play at 10:00 AM in Williamstown.
Williams 5, Middlebury 4
- Brian Grodecki/Deepak Indrakanti (W) def. Lubomir Cuba/Kyle Schlanger (M) – 9-7
- Alex Taylor/Calvin Chung (W) def. William de Quant/Noah Farrell (M) – 9-8
- Jordan Sadowsky/Arturo Kam (W) def. Timo Van der Geest/Peter Martin (M) – 9-8
- Brian Grodecki (W) def. Lubomir Cuba (M) – 6-4, 2-6, 7-6
- Noah Farrell (M) def. Austin Barr (W) – 0-6, 6-3, 6-3
- William de Quant (M) def. Sachin Raghavan (W) – 6-2, 6-3
- Ananth Raghavan (W) def. Kyle Schlanger (M) – 5-7, 6-3, 6-3
- Andre Xiao (M) def. Alex Taylor (W) – 7-6, 7-5
- Timo Van der Geest (M) def. Arturo Kam (W) – 5-7, 7-5, 10-8