Banana Slugs fall to fourth-ranked Middlebury 5-4 in Claremont

Banana Slugs fall to fourth-ranked Middlebury 5-4 in Claremont

CLAREMONT - In a possible postseason preview at the site of the 2018 NCAA Championships, UC Santa Cruz fought toe-to-toe with fourth-ranked Middlebury, coached by legendary former UCSC coach Bob Hansen. In the end, the Slugs lost the dual match 5-4 on the second day of their spring break excursion to southern California.

The pairs of Floyd Penners/Chad Le Duff and  A.J. Flora/Magnus Ibh both won their matches 9-8 to give the Slugs an early 2-1 lead after doubles play.

In singles, Middlebury won the No. 4 and No. 6 matches in straight sets to take a 3-2 lead, but Chad Stone won at No. 3 6-3, 6-4 to tie it at three wins each.

Middlebury's Lubomir Cuba won a thriller at No. 1 singles over Le Duff (1-6, 7-5, 6-4) to give the Panthers a 4-3 lead. 

The match was settled at the No. 2 and 5 singles, which both went into third-set tiebreakers.

At No. 5, Ryan Dugan won the first set over Alex Vanezis 6-4, but dropped set two 5-7 and then the third set 6-0, giving Middlebury the match. 

After dropping the first set, Slugs No. 2 Ibh won the final two against Kyle Schlanger 7-6 and 6-3 in the tiebreaker to give UCSC their final point of the day.

QUOTES-

"Today we shook the DIII tennis community by almost beating one of the top teams in the country. We played with a ton of heart and never gave up. I'm proud of our guys with how we represented our university" - Chad Stone
 
"Nothing but positivity all day! We had a great start by going up 2-1 after doubles. Today we played with no pressure, which is something we've been struggling with lately but it helped a ton going into singles. Overall, if we maintain the high level of energy we played with today, we'll be able to beat anyone in the country." - AJ Flora

UCSC stays in Claremont to take on No. 34 George Fox Tuesday morning.