Ephs claim two NESCAC titles and three bids to the NCAA tournament

Payton Ahola

Men’s tennis celebrates after defeating Tufts 5-4, claiming the NESCAC title. (Photo courtesy of Sports Information.)

Despite ongoing pandemic restrictions, Eph sports have gained several achievements this spring season, with men’s tennis and men’s crew claiming NESCAC titles, as well as men’s and women’s tennis and women’s golf earning bids to the NCAA Div. III tournament.

On May 9, men’s tennis defeated Tufts 5-4 to claim the NESCAC title and receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. This is the team’s 16th NESCAC title, and its first since 2013. The team most recently defeated Mount Aloysius 5-0 in the tournament to advance to the third round of the NCAA tournament.

Head Coach Daniel Greenberg said he was pleased with his team’s performance at the NESCAC championship. “Tufts played a great match from start to finish, but our guys stayed really tough and battled back from the brink, setting up Noah [Reich ’21] for an unforgettable third set, he said. “The quality of tennis and excitement was really high the entire time, and Noah’s clinch was the perfect finish.”

That same day, men’s crew defeated Bates, Trinity, and Tufts to claim the NESCAC title for the ninth time in College history and for the first time since 2016. The team is set to compete in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championship, a race with teams from all NCAA divisions, later this month.

Aside from claiming the NESCAC title this season, the main highlight for Head Coach Marc Mandel was “just getting back on the water after 17 months.” According to him, a big change to the team’s practices and dynamics in general was the adjustments they had to make while practicing in order to follow COVID-19 regulations set by the College. 

“Given COVID restrictions, we spent much less time training on the water and using rowing machines than we would have in years past,” Mandel said. “Our athletes invested a lot of time in running, cycling, hiking and cross country skiing to stay fit. Given the results from the end of the season, it did not seem to slow us down.”

Mandel said that the consistent practices the team has had over the past several years were a major component of their success. “A rowing race is not something one can ‘cram’ for in a few weeks or months,” he said.  “We’ve spent a ton of time over the past several years working on fundamentals and general fitness, which undoubtedly laid the groundwork for a successful season.”

On May 14, women’s golf placed fifth at the NCAA tournament out of 15 teams, adding to their streak of finishing in the top 5 at the tournament for the ninth year in a row. 

“We had a great practice season at Taconic in the fall, off-season weight training, and a quick adaptation to competitive golf in the spring,” Adalsteinsson said. “Every member of the team gave it their all in practices, and I’ve said it before that our key to success is how focused our players are at practices, and how driven they are to get better every day. Add that to the support they give each other, and the love they have for each other — as a coach, that’s more than I can ask for.”

Women’s tennis also clinched a spot in the NCAA tournament, defeating John Carroll University 5-0 in the first round on May 15. 

Ephs Softball ended their season with a loss to Tufts in the NESCAC championships, but was runner up in the NESCAC. They did not gain a spot in the NCAA DIII tournament, but was considered for a bid due to their success and finishing the season with a 12-2 record.