CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 20 MIT men's tennis team, who is just coming off its 15th consecutive New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) conference win, fell to Tufts University with a final score of 5-4 in its final match of the regular season at home on Wednesday afternoon. The Engineers dipped to 18-2 for the season, while the Jumbos are now 10-7.
Juniors Edwin Zhang (Falls Church, Va.) and Curtis Wu (Yorba Linda, Calif.) were defeated by Ben Barad and Rob Jacobson in a 3-0 tiebreaker, falling 9-8 at No. 1. Seniors Larry Pang (Torrance, Calif.) and Matthew Skalak (Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.) fell 8-4 to Nick Telkedzhiev and Mark Westerfield at No. 2. At No. 3, sophomore Eugene Oh (Alparetta, Ga.) and freshman Kevin Wang (Havertown, Pa.) picked up MIT's one point in doubles when they defeated Jay Glickman and Austin Blau with a score of 8-4.
Trailing 2-1 going into singles, the Engineers had to do some damage in order to catch up. Zhang, who was named the NEWMAC Athlete of the Year over the weekend, fell to Barad at No. 1 in an exciting match. Zhang won the first set with a score of 7-5, lost a 3-0 tiebreaker in the second set, falling 7-6, and fell in the final set with a score of 6-4. Pang, the NEWMAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player, won against Glickman with a score of 6-2, 6-2 at No. 2 and Wang defeated Andrew Lutz at No. 3 with a score of 7-5, 6-0, giving the Engineers a 4-3 lead over the Jumbos.
Tufts, however, fought back in the final two singles matches, winning both to take the entire match. The Jumbos' Rob Jacobson won over Skalak at No. 5 with a score of 6-0, 6-1 at No. 5 and senior Brian Oldfield (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands) lost his first set to Brian Tan, 6-3, won the second one with a score of 6-1 and fell in the final set, 6-2.
The Cardinal and Gray will find out in a matter of days if they have made it to their eighth consecutive NCAA championships. The teams that will be invited to the 2013 NCAA Division III Tennis Tournament will be announced on Monday, May 6, while the list of individuals that will compete will be released on Wednesday, May 8.