Jeffs sweep men’s tennis in semis

Men’s tennis (16-3, 6-2 NESCAC) began its NESCAC tournament on a strong note, dominating Bates (10-6, 5-5) 5-1 in the quarterfinals on Friday. However, their tournament ended the next day in the semifinals, when the Ephs were swept by the Jeffs (24-6, 6-1) 0-5.

The third-seeded Ephs knew that the match against the second-seeded Jeffs would be close since the Ephs had lost a close 5-4 match to them during the regular season. The match was tough from the beginning, and ultimately all three Eph doubles pairs lost very close matches. After being down a break 6-4, the first team of Dicken Chaplin ’12 and Bret Thacher ’09 battled back to 6-6. Amherst held serve for 7-6 and then broke Thacher to take the match.

The second doubles team of Will Petrie ’12 and Nick Lebedoff ’10 were up 5-0 and appeared poised to cruise to victory, but the opposing team was tough and refused to give up, winning the next eight games in a row. The third doubles team of Jeremy Weinberger ’09 and Kevin Shallcross ’12 also appeared to be on their way to victory after getting an early break but ultimately lost 6-8.

After coming from behind to sweep the doubles 3-0, Amherst clearly had the momentum in its favor. The Jeffs came out strong in singles play and were able to win two more matches to clinch the victory. Weinberger, playing second, lost 6-4, 6-0, and Petrie, playing fifth, lost 6-1, 6-1.

“Amherst simply played better than we did and I give them a lot of credit for how they played throughout the weekend,” said Head Coach Dave Donn. “There certainly are some things that we need to do better, execution and confidence-wise moving forward, but they get a lot of credit for taking us out of our game.”

Even though the Ephs came up short in their match against the Jeffs, they played incredibly well the day before to defeat the sixth-seeded Bobcats. “We came out strong with our doubles play and that really sets the tone, as is the case with almost every match. Getting up early was a huge advantage,” Donn said.

Thacher and Chaplin played incredibly well in a very close match. Ultimately they lost 9-8 in a thrilling tiebreak that the Ephs lost 7-4, but both the second and third doubles teams had commanding victories.

Petrie and Lebedoff won 8-2, and Weinberger and Shallcross were victorious 8-3. Being up 2-1 gave the Ephs the momentum they needed to take command in their singles matches. Weinberger, playing second, won 7-3, 7-6 (9-7), Devlin, playing third, was victorious 6-1, 7-5, and Karol Furmaga ’09, playing sixth, won 6-1, 7-5. The other matches did not finish after Weinberger clinched the overall victory.

The team is determined not to get too upset about its loss, and have retained a positive attitude as Regionals approaches, since they can still get a NCAA bid. “We have beaten some very good teams this year, hopefully we can use that to build momentum moving forward and learn from our mistakes,” Donn said.