#15 Bates def. #24 Trinity (CT) 6-3
This could have been a close match if the Bantams had managed to take #2 doubles, but they didn’t, and the Bobcats pretty much had the match won from there. Trinity completely exposed Bates’ lack of depth, dominating the last two matches, and coming close to victory at the #4 spot, but Bates was far too strong at the top. They won the top 3 singles positions easily en route to victory. This lack of depth is really a problem for Bates, however; as they basically need to win 5 out of 7 matches in order to beat a top calibre team (all three doubles; 1, 2, 3, and 4 singles). They aren’t as able to dominate the top of the singles ladder against teams like Middlebury and Williams as they are against a lower-tier NESCAC team like Trinity, and I think that’s what’s going to keep them out of the tournament this year. Watch out for them next year, though, as they have zero seniors in their starting lineup.
#7 Middlebury def. #23 Skidmore 8-1
I think the Panthers tried to send a message in this match that they shouldn’t be completely discounted just because of one loss to Bowdoin. This is the same team that beat Bates 7-2, and they’ve now beaten Skidmore much like Williams and Amherst did. Sure, Amherst didn’t play their full lineup, and beating up on lesser teams isn’t the same think as winning matches against top 10 teams, but this is just a friendly reminder that Middlebury is still dangerous. The box score could’ve been closer, but Middlebury pulled out the two three-setters, and a lot of the singles scores were comparable to those from the Williams/Skidmore and Amherst/Skidmore matches.
#7 Middlebury def. #29 MIT 6-3
After all of those good things I just wrote about them, Middlebury went and did this. This match really wasn’t as close as the box score might indicate, as it was pretty much over once the Panthers swept the doubles. But if you’re Middlebury, and you’re hoping to strike fear into the heart of your NESCAC opponents, this isn’t the best way to do it. MIT is still a bit of an unknown quantity, but you give a lot of teams hope by losing matches low in the lineup to a team like the Engineers that hasn’t shown the ability to win a big match yet. I guess the Panthers just aren’t as deep as they once were.