MIDDLETOWN, Conn.—In a battle of top 10 teams, #8 Wesleyan fell 5-4 to #6 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Wednesday in what was their first home match of the season after a 5-0 trip to Florida last week. The visiting Stags were making a rare trip to the east coast and despite playing indoors—an unfamiliar concept for the team from Southern California—they stayed solid throughout, jumping out to a 2-1 lead after doubles and then hanging on with three singles wins.
At #1, sophomore Adrian Roji and freshman Noah Lilienthal continued their excellent start to the spring, winning their fifth match out of six so far with an 8-3 win over Nikolai Parodi and Julian Gordy.
At #2 and #3, the Cardinals had chances, but CMS stepped up deep in the matches to win both. At #2, junior Princeton Carter and sophomore Ali Mooraj battled back from 4-7 to 6-7, but were broken in the final game, falling 8-6 to Jack Katzman and Robert Liu. Sophomores Andrew Finkelman and Zach Fleischman were up a break early at #3, but Casey Morris and Daniel Park came roaring back to win 8-5.
Wesleyan's first singles point came at #4, where Lilienthal managed to hang on despite a spirited comeback attempt from Liu. The Cardinal freshman was leading 6-4, 5-0, 40-15 before Liu reeled off four straight games to make it 5-4. Lilienthal dug deep in the final game however, ripping forehands and staying steady to complete the victory 6-4, 6-4.
At #3, Roji was similarly tough, raising his level as each set progressed. After winning a tight first set, he found himself down in the second but stayed the course and overcame Gordy in straight sets 7-6(3), 7-5.
Wesleyan's third singles point came at #6, where freshman Zach Lieb looked experienced well beyond his years in a takedown of Ethan Carroll 6-0, 6-3.
CMS won at #1 and #2 in high quality battles, including a three setter at #1 where Parodi topped Finkelman with excellent shotmaking down the stretch. The clincher for the Stags was courtesy of Daniel Park at #5, who topped Carter with a great mix of steadiness and some highlight-reel passing shots.
The #8 Cardinals host Wheaton (Mass.) on Friday at 3 PM in what will be a homecoming match for Wheaton head coach Pauri Pandian, a 2008 Wesleyan graduate and former Wesleyan tennis captain. Following the match with the Lyons, Wesleyan will also host Wilkes University on Sunday at 11 AM in their final match of spring break.
--Recap by Ben Shapiro--