MIDDlEBURY, Vt. -- In a match featuring two nationally ranked opponents, Middlebury improved to 9-2 overall with a narrow 5-4 win against No. 18 Gustavus Adolphus (20-4) on Friday afternoon.
Moved indoors to the Nelson Recreational Center due to weather, Middlebury got off to a great start winning two of three doubles points. At No. 2, the nation’s top-ranked duo of Middlebury’s Brantner Jones and Palmer Campbell claimed the first point, cruising to an 8-1 win against Joey MacGibbon and Juan Luis Chu. In the top spot, the visitors evened the match with an 8-6 win by 17th-ranked Mya Smith-Dennis and Motasem Al Houni against 24th-ranked Alex Johnston and Andrew Lebovitz.
The third spot featured one of the most exciting matches of the day. The Panther tandem of Peter Heidrich and Ari Smolyar trailed Andres Saenz and Marcel Gyswyt by a 7-4 score. Not done yet and fighting off match points, Heidrich and Smolyar rattled off five consecutive games for a crucial 9-7 win.
During singles, Johnston made it 3-1 in favor of the hosts with a 6-1, 6-3 versus Chu at No. 1, while Jones pushed the Panther lead to three with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory against Grant Leisner at No. 3. In the fourth spot, MacGibbon pulled the Gusties to within two with a 7-5, 6-3 win against Courtney Mountifield. At No. 2, Campbell, ranked 18th, clinched the match for Middlebury with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 win against 23rd-ranked Smith-Dennis.
Gustavus Adolphus won the final two matches. At No. 5, Al Houni got past Smolyar by scores of 3-6, 7-6 and 10-8 in the tiebreaker. In the sixth match, Middlebury’s Jackson Frons won the first set 6-1, but the Gusties’ Bradley Entwiste won the second and third sets 6-4 and 10-7.