April 23, 2011

Wheaton hangs tough with 23rd-ranked MIT before falling, 6-3

NORTON, Mass. - The Wheaton College men's tennis team had its 10-match winning streak come to an end at the hands of nationally-ranked Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on Saturday, as the Lyons dropped a 6-3 decision to the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) power at Beard Field House.

Falling for the first time in New England this year, Wheaton slipped to 11-5 overall and 4-1 in league play.  The Blue and White will be the second seed in the NEWMAC Tournament next Saturday at MIT.  The last time the Lyons tallied three points against the Engineers was a 5-3 loss during the 2007 NEWMAC Tournament championship match.

MIT, which entered today ranked 23rd nationally and seventh in the region in the most recent Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll, is NEWMAC regular season champions for the 13th straight year.  Moving to 11-4 and 5-0, the Engineers have never lost a regular season or tournament match in the NEWMAC's 13-year history.

MIT took two of three doubles matches from the Lyons, with senior Brian Krantz (Milford, Conn./Joseph A. Foran) and junior Neall Oliver (Portland, Maine/Deering) collecting Wheaton's lone win with an 8-6 victory in the top spot.  The hosts dropped 8-3 and 8-4 decisions at second and third doubles, respectively.

Five of the six singles contests were pretty evenly matched, including a battle in the first position, as Oliver needed a pair of tiebreaker wins to emerge victorious over freshman Edwin Zhang (Falls Church, Va.a/Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology), 7-6, 7-6.  Tiebreak scores were 7-4 and 7-3.

The other Wheaton win came at third singles, as senior Gregory Poulin (Boxboro, Mass./Home Schooled) notched a 6-4, 7-6 triumph.  The deciding match took place in the fifth spot, as Engineer sophomore Matthew Skalak (Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y./Croton-Harmon) collected a 6-4, 6-4 win over senior Harry Altman (Riverdale, N.Y./The Dwight School).

Wheaton freshman Dan Sharon (Santa Monica, Calif./Brentwood School) dropped a 6-2, 7-5 decision at four, while sophomore Dennis Scarpa (Cheshire, Conn./Xavier) suffered an 8-6 setback in the sixth singles spot.  Krantz lost in straight sets at two.

The Lyons finish out their regular season slate with a home match on Tuesday against Division II Merrimack College at 4:00 p.m.  Merrimack is fifth in the ITA East region poll.