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.


"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.