WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. - The Bowdoin College men's tennis team mounted a valiant effort, but top-ranked Amherst College came away with a 5-2 win in the championship of the New England Small College Athletic Conference Tournament Sunday at Williams College.
Joey Fritz sealed the win for Amherst (29-2) by posting an impressive victory in the fourth singles match, giving the Lord Jeffs the NESCAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. The Polar Bears (13-7) will undoubtedly earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament when selections are announced on late Sunday or Monday.
Wes Waterman and Chris Dale gave Amherst a 1-0 lead with their 8-5 win over Casey Gordon and Chris Lord in the third doubles match. The Polar Bears quickly tied things up at 1-1 when their top pairing of Oscar Pena and Samuel King handed seniors Austin Chafetz and Luis Rattenhuber their first loss of the year, 8-2.
It looked like Bowdoin was going to take a 2-1 lead into singles action, as Doug Caplan and Kyle Wolstencroft held leads of 4-1 and 7-6 over Amherst's Andrew Jung and Mark Kahan at number two. The Lord Jeffs battled their way back and earned a pivotal 9-8 win, giving Amherst a 2-1 advantage after the doubles session.
Chafetz avenged his loss in doubles play by cruising past King in the No. 2 matchup (6-3, 6-2), and Waterman soon brought the score to 4-1 in favor of Amherst with his 6-2, 6-3 win over Wolstencroft in the sixth spot.
Amherst's 4-1 lead was deceiving, as Bowdoin battled back to tie the third and fifth singles matches at one set apiece. Pena then picked up a second point for the Polar Bears with a three-set win against Kahan (6-2, 1-6, 6-3) in the top spot, snapping Kahan's 30-match win streak and marking his first loss in singles play since March of 2011.
Bowdoin looked poised for a comeback in the fourth singles match, as Grindon jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set after Fritz had won the first for Amherst, 6-2. Fritz faced a 5-3 deficit but wouldn't lose another game, battling back for the 7-5 victory to seal the title for the Lord Jeffs.
The NCAA Regional Championships will begin Friday, May 11. More information will be posted on Monday when the tournament's participants and regional host sites are announced.
Amherst 5, Bowdoin 2
1. Oscar Pena (BOW) def. Mark Kahan (AMH) 6-2, 1-6, 6-3
2. Austin Chafetz (AMH) def. Samuel King (BOW) 6-3, 6-2
3. Luis Rattenhuber (AMH) vs. Chris Lord (BOW) 6-4, 5-7, 0-1, unfinished
4. Joey Fritz (AMH) def. Casey Grindon (BOW) 6-2, 7-5
5. Andrew Jung (AMH) vs. Noah Bragg (BOW) 6-3, 2-6, unfinished
6. Wes Waterman (AMH) def. Kyle Wolstencroft (BOW) 6-2, 6-3
1. Oscar Pena/Samuel King (BOW) def. Luis Rattenhuber/Austin Chafetz (AMH) 8-2
2. Andrew Jung/Mark Kahan (AMH) def. Doug Caplan/Kyle Wolstencroft (BOW) 9-8 (7-5)
3. Wes Waterman/Chris Dale (AMH) def. Casey Grindon/Chris Lord (BOW) 8-5