Men’s tennis topples Amherst 5-4 for NESCAC Championship

Last weekend, men’s tennis (18-3, 7-1 in the NESCAC) traveled to Amherst to compete in the NESCAC Championship. Although play started on Friday, second-seeded Williams received a bye in the first round. The men then took on and defeated third-seeded Middlebury 5-4 in the second round of play, en route to defeating top-seeded Amherst 5-4 on Sunday to claim the NESCAC title.

On Saturday, Williams faced tough competition against Middlebury. The Ephs went down 2-1 after doubles play, with only Felix Sun ’13 and Matt Micheli ’14 securing a win at No. 2 doubles, 8-4. The Ephs rebounded in singles play, however, winning four of the six matches. Micheli and Sun were quick off the court, with victories at Nos. 2 and 3 singles, respectively. Chow pulled out a 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 win at No. 5 singles, but Dylan Page ’13 was defeated 6-2, 6-3. At this point in the match, Zach Weiss ’13 and co-captain Trey Meyer ’13 were in hard battles for their third sets. Although Weiss eventually lost his match, Meyer won 6-3 in the third to give the Ephs their 5-4 win.

The Ephs then took on the Jeffs on Sunday. In doubles, Amherst claimed the first point of the day, defeating duo Chow and Brian Astrachan ’16 at No. 3 doubles. A solid 8-2 win from Meyer and Alex Schidlovsky ’16 at No. 1 doubles tied the match score at 1-1. Sun and Micheli continued the momentum by taking their proset 8-6.

Amherst started off strong in singles play, notching a 6-4, 6-3 win at No. 6 singles, as Page lost a close match. Sun was also edged out at No. 2 singles, putting Williams at a 2-3 deficit. Meyer then claimed an impressive straight-set win at No.1 singles 6-4, 6-3, to tie it up at 3-3. Soon after, Weiss fell in a narrow 6-4, 7-5 match at No. 4 singles. Down 3-4, Williams had to win the remaining singles matches at courts two and five, both of which were late into the second sets. Chow stayed tough through a close second-set tiebreaker, claiming it 8-6 to split sets. A few courts down, Micheli won his second set 6-4 to push his match to a third set as well, going on to win it 6-1 and tying the score  up at 4-4. As the entire crowd looked on, Chow also went on to a 6-1 victory to claim the match. With its 5-4 win, Williams avenged their loss to Amherst earlier in the season and took the NESCAC title.

“[Last] weekend was a full team effort,” Meyer said. “Everyone stepped up and brought energy on and off the court. We were fortunate to win many of the big points [that] had escaped us early in the season. Everyone is excited to have the conference title back after a 10-year draught.”

The Ephs will host the first round of the Div. III NCAAs beginning this Thursday. The men will take on the winner of Colby-Sawyer and Nichols on Friday. Other NESCAC teams competing at NCAAs will be Middlebury, Trinity and Amherst. All three of these teams earned a first round bye in the tournament.