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Panther men heading to NCAA tennis tournament

MIDDLEBURY The Panthers tennis team has earned an at-large bid to the 2008 NCAA Tournament. The men will make their seventh consecutive trip when they host a regional from May 2-4. Bowdoin won its first NESCAC Mens Tennis Championship with a dramatic 5-4 win at Middlebury. The Polar Bears earn the leagues automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA Tournament, while Middlebury will hope for an at-large bid. The Panthers, who were looking for their fifth straight NESCAC title, found themselves trailing 2-1 after doubles play. Middlebury tied the match with a win at no. 3 singles by Andrew Thomson over Alex Caughron, 6-1, 6-1. Bowdoin regained the lead as Stephen Sullivan was a 6-1, 6-4 winner over Filip Marinkovic in the no. 2 slot. The lead extended to 4-2 as Garrett Gates earned a 6-4, 7-5 win in a tight no. 1 singles match over Middleburys Andrew Lee. Bowdoin needed just one of three singles matches remaining for the win, and had taken the first set in two of the three contests. Middleburys Andrew Peters defeated Jamie Neely at no. 4 singles 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 to bring the Panthers within one at 4-3. After dropping the first set 7-6 (12), Rich Bonfiglio of Middlebury battled back to pick up 6-2, 6-4 wins over Alex White at no. 6 singles to tie the match at 4-4. The final contest between Tyler Anderson of Bowdoin and Middleburys Peter Odell went to a third set after Anderson took the first set 6-3, and Odell was a 7-6 (5) winner in a second set tie-breaker. The final match of the day saw back and forth play, as Anderson pulled out a 6-4 win to clinch the NESCAC title for Bowdoin.

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