The Gustavus men’s tennis team lost to Middlebury College 4-0 in a semifinal match at the NCAA Team Championship being played at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va. The Gusties will now play for third place tomorrow (Friday) morning. This is the second consecutive year that Middlebury has beaten Gustavus in the NCAA Championship semifinals as the Panthers defeated the Gusties 4-2 last year.
The match got off to an exciting start as the doubles point came down to a very close decision at the #2 position. Gustavus’ #1 doubles team of Brett Morse-Karzen (Wilmette, Ill.) and Adam Morgan (Barrington, Ill.) struggled against Middlebury’s top duo of Ari Beilin and Alex Scott losing 8-2, however Loren Collins (Dallas, Tex.) and Jesse Brauer (Mankato, Minn.) defeated Salih Unsal and Brian Waldron 8-6 to even the doubles score at 1-1. The doubles point came down to the #2 position where the Gusties’ Andy and Roy Bryan (Edina, Minn.) lost to Kevin Bergesen and Nate Edmunds 8-6 in a very evenly played match.
Middlebury increased its lead to 3-0 with straight set victories at #1 and #2 singles. At the #1 position, the Panthers’ Brian Waldron knocked off Loren Collins 6-2, 6-2. The loss was only the second of the year for Collins (20-2) and the first this spring. His only other loss was to defending national singles champion Matt Seeburger (UC-Santa Cruz) in the championship match of the ITA Small College Championships last October. At the #2 position, Adam Morgan lost to Ari Beilin 3-6, 2-6. Middlebury picked up the all important fourth point when Salih Unsal defeated Roy Bryan 6-4, 6-4 at the #5 position.
The three remaining matches were stopped with Brett Morse-Karzen leading Alex Scott 6-4, 3-6, 4-1 at the #6 position, Jesse Brauer leading Nate Edmunds 7-6, 4-2 at the #3 position, and Andy Bryan hoping to even his match against Conrad Olson at the #4 position as he was leading the second set 4-1, after losing the first set 6-7.
The Gusties, who fall to 34-5 on the season, suffered their first loss against a Division III opponent this year (26-1). Coach Steve Wilkinson’s squad will now play Williams for third place on Friday at 9:00 am (EST).