NORTON, MA- They saved their toughest match of the season for last, but MIT men's tennis withheld the challenge of Wheaton College and emerged with a 6-3 decision in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play at Beard Field House. Wheaton had its 10-match winning streak snapped, while MIT extended their conference winning streak to 66 matches over a 13 year span. 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.
MIT took two of three doubles matches from the Lyons, with Larry Pang and Curtis Wu collecting an 8-3 second doubles victory and Edwin Zhang and Andrew Cooper winning at third doubles 8-4. Brian Krantz and junior Neall Oliver collected Wheaton's lone win with an 8-6 victory in the top spot over Matthew Skalak and Ken Van Tilburg
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, 7-6, 7-6. Tiebreak scores were 7-4 and 7-3.
Ken Van Tilburg handled Krantz 6-2, 6-3 at second singles, while the other Wheaton win came at third singles, as senior Gregory Poulin notched a 6-4, 7-6 triumph over Pang. The deciding match took place in the fifth spot, as Engineer sophomore Matthew Skalak collected a 6-4, 6-4 win over senior Harry Altman. Curtis Wu collected a 6-2, 7-5 decision at four, while Andrew Cooper took care of Dennis Scarpa 8-6 in the sixth spot.
MIT improves to 11-4 overall and will be the one-seed and the host for the NEWMAC tournament next Saturday. 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. 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.