Twelfth-ranked men’s tennis (4-4, 1-1 in the NESCAC) had mixed success in its opening weekend of conference play. The team looked dominant Saturday, sweeping Tufts 9-0 in its home opener, but could not keep the momentum going and lost 7-2 to Amherst on Sunday in the Lansing Chapman Rink in a match that was much closer than the widely-spread score might suggest.
Play began outside on Sunday, with national No. 8 Amherst jumping to an early 2-1 lead after claiming wins at both No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. Co-captain Nick Lebedoff ’10 and Dicken Chaplin ’12 lost 8-2 in the first slot while Bryan Chow ’13 and Will Petrie ’12 lost 8-1 at No. 2. The duo of Felix Sun ’13 and Trey Meyer ’13 played tremendous doubles at No. 3 with their deft blend of power and finesse to claim the men’s only doubles victory of the day.
Rain forced the match to move indoors immediately after the doubles matches were completed. Each of the No. 1 through No. 4 singles matches was very close for the first 20 minutes of play. Petrie battled with Jeff Wesley Waterman but ultimately fell 6-3, 6-2 at the No. 4 spot. After losing the first set to Mark Kahan in a tiebreaker, Sun was unable to rebound and lost 7-6(5), 6-2. Lebedoff and co-captain Jeremy Weinberger ’10 won the first sets of their No. 1 and No. 3 singles matches, respectively, but were unable to hold out for the win. Lebedoff lost 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-3 while Weinberger fell 7-5, 4-6, 3-6. Zach Weiss ’13 also played well but lost 6-0, 6-2 at No. 6. Chow registered the only Eph singles win with a solid 7-5, 6-2 victory in fifth position.
Head Coach Dan Greenberg ’08 was disappointed with the loss to Amherst, but remained impressed with how his players competed. “Amherst was tough,” he said. “We competed well, but we needed to do a better job of applying pressure and stepping up at the big moments.”
Weinberger echoed his coach’s sentiments, saying, “We are always disappointed with a loss to Amherst, but if one thing came out of the match, it’s that we are competitive with them. I think I speak for the entire team in saying [that] we’re excited to get another chance to play them.”
The team’s home opener against Tufts on Saturday was a much more triumphant contest for Williams. The Ephs were masterful, sweeping the Jumbos in the 9-0 victory. The tone for the day was set during doubles: Lebedoff and Chaplin won 8-4 at No. 1, while Chow and Petrie dismissed their opponents 8-5 at No. 2 and Meyer and Sun claimed an 8-4 victory at No. 3.
Weinberger pulled out a gutsy win at No. 3 singles with a score of 6-3, 1-6, 10-6. All of the other matches were decided in straight sets with the Tufts winning just a handful of games. Lebedoff easily demolished his competition with a 6-1, 6-3 win at No. 1 while Sun vanquished his competitor 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2. Petrie ripped his way to a 6-1, 6-1 victory at No. 4 as Kevin Shallcross ’12 won 6-2, 7-5 at No. 5 and Weiss ground out a 6-3, 6-3 win at six to complete the sweep.
The Ephs took on NESCAC and Little Three rival Wesleyan at home on Tuesday, but results came in too late to report. The team is set to travel to Maine this weekend, where Williams will take on Bowdoin on Saturday and Colby on Sunday.
Lebedoff is looking forward to hitting the courts this week: “We had a tough day on Sunday, but we’re going to keep working until we get to where we should be and know we can be,” he said.
The end of the men’s regular season is already looming despite the fact that last week marked the first of Williams’ conference play. After this weekend’s matches, the team will go up against Trinity, Hamilton and Middlebury in quick succession to round out the regular season. The matches will be played on April 28, May 1 and May 2, respectively.
After a chance to bolster their NESCAC ranking with these nexxt few matches, the Ephs will move into the NESCAC Championship at Amherst, which will be held May 7-9. The team is hoping to rise above its conference rivals to qualify for NCAAs with a strong NESCAC showing in just a few weeks’ time.