Men’s tennis sweeps Lord Jeffs

After a disappointing loss to Middlebury earlier this week that snapped a 53-match NESCAC win streak, men’s tennis (6-2) came back to beat Amherst 7-0. The Ephs won four close 3-set matches that enabled them to sweep Amherst.

First seed John Haywood ’04 defeated his Lord Jeff counterpart in three sets (5-7, 6-3, 6-4). Andrew Murray ’04, at second seed, picked up a win over Max Rettig in 3 sets as well (6-1, 3-6, 7-5). Rookie Jeff Kivitz ’06 beat Josh Rilla (6-4, 6-1). In three sets, Daniel Murray ’04 defeated Arpan Podduturi (6-2, 3-6, 6-3). Number five seed Tim White ’05 won over Will Abbott (6-4, 7-5). Lex Urban ’04 wrapped up the Ephs’ dominance on the singles front with a defeat of Brian Chin in three sets (3-6, 6-4, 6-3) at the sixth seed.

Williams also won all three doubles matches. The team of Andrew Murray and Kivitz defeated Leibsohn and Rilla (8-2). At number 2, Urban and Haywood defeated Podduturi and Tsai (8-5). Finally, Murray and Scott Mackenzie defeated Godsall/Chin (8-3), resulting in a final score of 7-0.

“This was a tough match for our team, particularly coming off a loss at Middlebury,” tri-captain Murray said. “The team did a great job of competing and won some big points.”

Last Thursday, the Panthers snapped the Ephs’ historic NESCAC win streak in an indoor match at Middlebury. The Ephs’ last loss to a NESCAC foe was almost nine years ago – at the hands of the Lord Jeffs on April 23, 1994, at Williams.

Winning for the Ephs at the six seed in singles was White. The Ephs team of Murray and Kivitz also won number one in doubles.

Despite the disappointing result against Middlebury, there was reason to believe that the Ephs are capable of capturing their fourth national title in five years. The team played competitively against the Panthers but just failed to perform in certain clutch situations.

“We played well,” Bryan Monier ’06 said. “But, we didn’t pick up some of the important points that would’ve made a big difference.”

The team (6-2) rebounded from a 6-1 loss at Dartmouth on April 3 with a convincing 7-0 win over visiting Tufts on April 5. Tufts entered the match having won their first three matches and losing consecutive 4-3 matches to nearby rival MIT and Middlebury. The Jumbos are now 3-3 for the year.

A year ago in Medford, the Jumbos very nearly upset the Ephs with virtually the same lineup they used today, but Williams re-grouped after being swept in doubles to prevail. This afternoon in the Ephs’ indoor tennis facility, Lansing Chapman Rink, it was a different story. This time the Ephs swept the doubles point and never looked back.

The Ephs used a strong rally by Murray and Kivitz at number one doubles that found them coming all the way back from a 5-2 deficit to win 8-6. The Murray/Kivitz win came over New England’s top-ranked doubles team of David Ruttenberg and Ritat Perahya. The Ephs won four singles matches in straight sets and Kivitz and White prevailed in three.

“Overall, I would have to say this was a very impressive win for us,” Head Coach Dave Johnson.

The Ephs are two-time defending national champions and are currently ranked first in the nation. They will face Skidmore at home today.