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