Men’s tennis wins 14th-straight Little Three title

Men’s tennis (13-1, 4-0 in the NESCAC) extended its win streak to seven games as it stormed through three conference opponents this week. The team claimed 9-0 victories over Conn. College (3-11, 0-5 in the NESCAC) on Sunday and Wesleyan (6-7, 1-4 in the NESCAC) on Saturday. The Ephs earned their 14th consecutive Little Three title with the quick win against Wesleyan, but really showed their strength against a tough Middlebury squad on Wednesday. Williams edged Middlebury (11-4, 5-1 in the NESCAC) 5-4 as co-captain Dan Greenberg ’08 won a marathon of a match.

The victories over the weekend were short and sweet. On Sunday, Williams secured the early lead with three decisive doubles wins against Conn. College. Jeremy Weinberger ’10 and Ari Binder ’11 sailed to an 8-0 victory on court three. Greenberg and Bret Thatcher ’09 won 8-5 on the first court while co-captain Gary Simonette ’08 and Nick Lebedoff ’10 earned an 8-3 win on the second.

The Ephs fared just as well in the singles matches. Greenberg won 6-2, 6-1 on the first court, Lebedoff went 6-3, 6-4 on the second and Weinberger claimed an impressive 6-1, 6-1 win on the third. No. 4 Karol Furmaga ’09 blanked his opponent while Ben Davidson ’10 won 6-2, 6-0 and Ben Kelley ’10 earned a 6-1, 6-0 victory.
The singles matches started the Wesleyan match on Saturday. Greenberg, Simonette and Weinberger tallied wins on the top three courts. In his match on the fourth, Furmaga claimed a 6-0, 6-0 win, the first of his two shutout victories this weekend. Rick Devlin ’09 won 6-0, 6-3 on the fifth and Binder made an impressive singles debut on the sixth, winning 6-1, 6-3.

Although the match and the Little Three title went quickly to Williams, the teams played out the doubles. The Williams pairs won on all three courts to make it a dominating win.
“For our seniors to wrap up their fourth Little Three is a tremendous accomplishment,” Head Coach Dave Donn said.

The fight for the Middlebury match on Wednesday, however, was a tremendous test. The Ephs have struggled against the Panthers in the past few seasons and anticipate running into them in the post-season. Both teams are ranked in the top 10 nationally.

“We know that Middlebury is a team we’ll see again at some point,” Donn said.

This time, Williams claimed a narrow victory. The Ephs went up 2-1 in the doubles, but the Panthers evened things up at 4-4 with only Greenberg still on court. Greenberg rallied with Middlebury’s Andrew Lee for three sets until he cleanly took the third to win 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. The win gave Williams a 5-4 edge and closed the five-hour-long match.

“We had a great crowd for the Middlebury match, many of whom stayed all five hours and even moved inside when it became too dark,” said Donn. “I want to thank everyone for that, it really made a big difference.”

The win signaled that the Ephs will be competitive in the post-season. “I think [the win] showed us that we have worked hard this year and that as a team we have learned not only to rely on one another but also that we are match-tough,” Simonette said.

Williams will fight for an eighth straight win as the team plays away at Trinity today.