Ephs snag at-large bid to NCAAs

On Saturday, men’s tennis dropped a close contest to conference competitor Bowdoin in the semifinals of the NESCAC championship.

Zach Weiss ’13 fell 7-5, 6-4 to Bowdoin’s Casey Grindon in last Saturday’s NESCAC semis.
Zach Weiss ’13 fell 7-5, 6-4 to Bowdoin’s Casey Grindon in last Saturday’s NESCAC semis. - Photo Courtesy of Sports Information

The Ephs received a bye in Friday’s first round, automatically advancing to the semifinals competition on Saturday. The Polar Bears claimed a 5-3 victory  over the Ephs. Amherst dropped Bowdoin 5-2 on Sunday in the championship round.

The men got off to a promising start, winning two of the three doubles matches. The first-slotted team of Trey Meyer ’13 and Bryan Chow ’13 defeated its opponents 8-2. The duo was followed by the No. 3 team of co-captains Will Petrie ’12 and Kevin Shallcross ’12. Petrie and Shallcross took their opponents down 8-4. Bowdoin won at the No. 2 doubles position, handing Felix Sun ’13 and Matt Micheli ’14 their first loss as a doubles team this season by a score of 8-6. Williams went into singles play with a slim 2-1 lead over Bowdoin.

Heading into singles play, the Polar Bears took control, winning at the third, fourth, fifth and sixth singles positions to take the match 5-3, as the match was played to decision. Zach Weiss ’13 lost to Bowdoin’s Case Grindon by scores of 7-5 and 6-4. Meyer won his match at No. 1 singles 7-6, 6-1 while Sun’s match was left unfinished. When the match was called, the junior was leading his opponent 3-6, 6-2, 2-0.

Head Coach Dan Greenberg ’08 credited Bowdoin’s energy in singles play as a contributing factor in the Polar Bears’ victory. “We started off well in doubles, but when Bowdoin turned it up in singles, we backed down,” he said. “We pride ourselves on competing, and we didn’t do that throughout the match. Obviously, Bowdoin played some great tennis this weekend, so they deserve a ton of credit.”

While the team lost its chance at the NESCAC’s automatic bid into the Div. III NCAA tournament with the semifinal loss, Williams’ season is not over: The team has received an at-large bid into the tournament.

Shallcross is confident that Saturday’s loss will only serve as motivation for the team going forward into Div. III NCAA Regionals this weekend. “Obviously we had a very disappointing outcome in the NESCAC tournament, but we’ll take the setback and let it fuel us,” Shallcross said. “Our primary goal has been to win a national championship all season, and it’s win or go home from here on out.”

The Ephs have been granted hosting rights for the regional round of NCAAs. The first three rounds of play will be held in Williamstown from Friday to Sunday. The men will compete starting in the second round on Saturday, as they received a first-round bye.