AMHERST, MA – On Saturday, two of the top teams in the nation faced off when Middlebury (20-3, 7-1 NESCAC) took on Williams (13-4, 6-1 NESCAC) in the conference semi-finals. The Ephs were the second seed, so they had a bye despite having one less win than the third-seeded Panthers. This was because, when the teams last met, Williams pulled a surprise upset. Consequently, the Panthers had to win against sixth-seeded Bates to advance on Friday, which they accomplished easily. Unfortunately, their good form continued, and they came out on top against Williams.
The first signs that the match would not go the Ephs' way was in the #1 doubles match. Although Brian Grodecki '18 and Ananth Raghavan '20 played admirably in their first match together this season and forced a tiebreak, they could not wrap the match up, losing 7-3. The teams then split the next two, giving the top ranked team in the nation a 2-1 lead.
The men could not get it going on singles, giving Middlebury a lopsided victory. The Panthers won the numbers 1, 3 and 4 matches, giving them a win and therefore stopping the rest of the matches in their tracks. This was too bad, because in each of the stopped matches, the momentum was swung towards Williams. Austin Barr '21 and Deepak Indrakanti '19 looked like they would grab a game back after losing their first sets, while Arturo Kam '21 was only one game away from winning his match. Kam also won in doubles with Jordan Sadowksy '18.
"Today was tough," said head coach Dan Greenberg '08. "Doubles could have gone either way, and unfortunately we weren't mentally ready to bounce back in singles."
As there are no individual tournaments at the conference level, the Ephs are now done for the weekend. Over the next few days, they will be eagerly awaiting the announcement of the NCAA tournament to see who they will face next. Although the team did not earn an automatic bid by winning its conference tournament, its resume will ensure that it is comfortably in the national tournament. The time and place of Williams' next match will come with that announcement.
Williams 1, Middlebury 5
- Lubomir Cuba/Kyle Schlanger (M) def. Brian Grodecki/Ananth Raghavan (W) – 9-8 (7-3)
- William de Quant/Noah Farrell (M) def. Alex Taylor/Calvin Chung (W) – 8-5
- Jordan Sadowsky/Arturo Kam (W) def. Timo Van der Geest/Peter Martin (M) – 8-5
- Lubomir Cuba (M) def. Brian Grodecki (W) – 6-1, 7-5
- Austin Barr (W) and Noah Farrell (M) – DNF
- William de Quant (M) def. Sachin Raghavan (W) – 6-4, 6-2
- Kyle Schlanger (M) def. Ananth Raghavan (W) – 6-3, 6-3
- Nate Eazor (M) and Deepak Indrakanti (W) – DNF
- Timo Van der Geest (M) and Arturo Kam (W) – DNF