Men’s tennis drops Trinity and Hamilton, falls to first-ranked Middlebury

National No. 12 men’s tennis (9-4, 6-2 in the NESCAC) lost its final regular season match 8-1 to No. 1 Middlebury at home on Sunday after beating Hamilton in Williamstown 9-0 on Saturday and downing No. 17 Trinity 6-3 on the road on Thursday.

Williams came out with intensity in its doubles matches on Sunday but got down early on courts one and two against Middlebury’s doubles teams. The No. 1 team of Dicken Chaplin ’12 and Bryan Chow ’13 and the No. 2 team of Nick Lebedoff ’10 and Kevin Shallcross ’12 kept their respective opponents engaged in matches much more competitive than the score might suggest, but the Eph teams fell to the Panthers 8-4 and 8-3, respectively. It came down to Felix Sun ’13 and Trey Meyer ’13 to put the Ephs on the board at No. 3. The first-year duo fought hard but fell 9-7 to put Williams down 3-0 heading into singles play.

The Ephs put the doubles matches behind them and entered their singles matches with intensity. Sun fell 6-4, 3-6, 10-4 in a marathon match at No. 1, and Lebedoff lost 6-2, 6-3 in the second position.Co-captain Jeremy Weinberger ’10 fell to his Panther counterpart 6-2, 6-2 at No. 3. Chow lost 6-3, 7-5 at No. 4, and Zach Weiss ’13 lost a tough battle 6-4, 6-4 at No. 5 to put the men down 8-0 heading into the final match of the day. The lone win on the day came from Meyer, who breezed past his opponent 6-2, 6-3 at No. 6 to prevent a sweep.

Saturday’s home match against Hamilton was very different from Sunday’s match-up: The Ephs cruised to an easy 9-0 victory over the Continentals. The doubles lineup – the same as that against Middlebury – proved its strength with a 3-0 sweep of the matches, with the three pairs winning 8-2, 8-6 and 8-0 respectively. In singles play, wins by Lebedoff at No. 1, Chow at No. 2, Weiss in the third position, Meyer on court four, Shallcross at No. 5 and Dylan Page ’13 in the sixth slot combined for the 9-0 sweep on the day.

The team’s big win of the week came on Thursday , when the men beat Trinity 6-3 in Hartford, Conn. The competition marked a good day for the Ephs’ doubles teams, with Lebedoff and Will Petrie ’12 winning 8-5 at No. 2 and Meyer and Sun dominating 8-3 at No. 3. The first position team of Chaplin and Chow fell 8-3.

Lebedoff showed why he is among the top players in the conference by coming back from being a set down to win 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 in the first singles position. Sun cruised to 6-1, 6-4 victory at No. 2 and Weinberger pulled out a 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(6) win at No. 3, while Chow lost 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the fourth position. Weiss showed his grit with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory at No. 5. Despite a strong effort, Shallcross lost in a third set tiebreaker 5-7, 7-5, 16-14 in the Ephs’ sixth singles position for an 8-5 tally on the day.

Head Coach Dan Greenberg was impressed with the team’s ability to come back in three of the singles matches against Trinity as well as the showing against Middlebury. “Middlebury is number one in the country for a reason,” he said. “We [now] have a good idea of what we need to focus on for the post-season to be able to compete with the top teams.”

The men will compete in the NESCAC tournament beginning on Friday at Amherst, when they face Bates at 1 p.m. in the first round of competition.