May 26, 2010

Courtesy of Middlebury Athletics

Middlebury advanced to the NCAA Division III Championship match for the fourth time, after a 5-4 win over Washington-St. Louis in a semifinal match-up at Oberlin College in Ohio. The Panthers will take on NESCAC rival Amherst, a 5-4 winner over Claremont Mudd-Scripps, in the championship match at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday. Middlebury and Amherst met just once this season, with the Panthers edging out a 5-4 victory on May 1st. The Panthers improve to 22-2 with the win, while seventh ranked Washington-St. Louis falls to 20-5. The 22 wins this season ties the school record set in '06 and '07.

Eliot Jia and Conrad Olson again had the Panthers off to a solid start, picking up an 8-4 win over John Watts and Kareem Farah at #2. The Bears evened the match when Danny Levy and Cameron Chiang were 8-6 victors over Chris Mason and Andrew Peters in the #3 slot. The #1 doubles match was a battle, as Middlebury's Andrew Thomson and Andrew Lee were able to edge out Isaac Stein and Max Wood, 9-8 (7-2). Thomson/Lee led 7-6, but then found themselves trailing 7-8 before forcing the tiebreaker.

Jia continued to roll in singles play, picking up a 6-3, 6-1 win over Levy at #5. The Panther lead increased to 4-1 when Lee was a 6-3, 6-0 winner in the second slot over Stein. Middlebury was one point away from victory, with the four other singles matches going into the third set.

Farah led a comeback for the Bears, defeating Peter Odell 7-6, 6-4 at #6, before Max Woods earned a three-set victory over Thomson at #4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. Middlebury's lead was now at 4-3 with two singles matches remaining.

Watts pulled out a three-set (6-3, 3-6, 6-2) victory at #1 over Peters to tie the match at 4-4 with the Olson/Adam Putterman match remaining in the third set. Just seconds after the match was tied at 4-4, Olson sealed the victory for Middlebury with a win over Adam Putterman at #3. Olson dropped the first set 6-2 before bouncing back with 6-2 and 6-2 wins in the next to sets to send the Panthers to the national championship match.