The men's tennis team put up a valiant fight against Middlebury in its match last Saturday. Though ranked behind Middlebury, Bowdoin came within a point of an upset.

Ranked 14th, the Polar Bears came within striking distance of handing Middlebury its first D-III and NESCAC loss of the season. With the win, the Panthers improved to 14-1 (5-0 NESCAC), while the Polar Bears dropped to 7-4 (2-2 NESCAC). Injuries have been a major problem for the men's team, and last Saturday proved no exception to the rule. Lacking two starters proved to be a deciding factor in the closely contested match.

"Our match against Middlebury really proved that we are a national contender," said Kent Winingham '12. "Although we have two starters out, we only lost by one match to the top-ranked team in the nation, which I think says a lot about our team."

The Polar Bears trailed in doubles play but Winingham and Oscar Peña '12 earned a win in an exciting match. In singles play, Peña, first year Sam King and sophomore Casey Grindon posted impressive comebacks. King rallied from being down 0-6, 6-2, 7-6 at the No. 2 position while Grindon won at No. 3 after being down 3-6, 6-4, 10-8. At No. 4, Peña came back 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 to post a solid win.

"Our number 2 through 4 singles players showed incredible fortitude in fighting to win the second and third sets after losing the first, while Oscar and I fought back in doubles after being down 5-0 to win 9-7," Winingham said. "These matches really demonstrated the 'find a way to win' motto that our team takes to heart."

He also added that no one on the team was surprised that they almost beat Middlebury.

"We expect to be national champions," he said. "That's our goal, and by looking at the way we are starting to come together as a team and progress, I won't be surprised if we are."

If the team is able to find a means to curtail injuries, all indicators point to a strong postseason performance for the Polar Bears.

The Polar Bears will be traveling to Massachusetts to take on Williams on Saturday. On Sunday, they head to Clinton, NY to take on the Hamilton Continentals.