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Ephs Head to Amherst to Face Middlebury in NESCAC Men’s Tennis Semifinals Saturday

Zach Weiss '13

HADLEY, Mass. – Number two seeded Williams (16-3, 7-1 NESCAC) will face third seeded Middlebury (18-3, 5-2 NESCAC) Saturday morning at Amherst College at 9:00 AM in one NESCAC Men's Tennis Tournament Semifinal.

The other semifinal will find host Amherst (26-7, 9-0 NESCAC) playing fourth seeded Bates (10-8, 6-4 NESCAC) also at 9:00 AM.

Williams and Amherst as the top seeds were given a bye in the quarterfinal round. Middlebury advance to the semifinals with a 5-1 win over Tufts Friday morning at Amherst.

Bates earned the right to meet Amherst when they downed Wesleyan 5-3 on Friday morning in Amherst.

Saturday's winners will meet Sunday morning at 9:00 at Amherst to determine the 2013 NESCAC champion.

Amherst will pursue its second consecutive conference crown this weekend when the Lord Jeffs battle the field at the NESCAC Men's Tennis Championship. The 2013 edition of the tournament opens on Friday, May 3 at Amherst with first round action between Wesleyan and Bates along with Tufts and Middlebury. Winners from Friday will advance to Saturday's semifinals and face either Amherst or Williams. The NESCAC Men's Tennis Championship will come to a close on Sunday, May 5 at 9:00 a.m.

Top seeded Amherst (26-7, 9-0 NESCAC) will seek its third straight NESCAC title, going undefeated in conference matches for the second straight season. The Jeffs narrowly defeated Bates and Williams by 5-4 scores and have been riding a 14-match win streak since a 7-2 setback to San Diego Mesa College on March 23.

Amherst will have to get past the winner of Friday's first round match between fourth-seeded Bates (9-8, 6-4 NESCAC) and fifth-seeded Wesleyan (7-9, 5-4 NESCAC). After dropping back to back matches to Amherst and Williams, Bates concluded the season winning four of its last five matches, including key conference wins over Connecticut College, Hamilton, Trinity, and Wesleyan. The Cardinals are making their postseason debut, collecting five NESCAC wins over the season to make their first trip to the NESCAC tournament in its current format. After a 7-2 defeat to Middlebury on April 6, Wesleyan put together a five-match win streak entering the season finale against Bates. The Cardinals hope to avenge the 6-3 loss from April 28 to meet Amherst for revenge of its 8-1 setback on October 13.

Friday's other first round match features third-seeded Middlebury (17-3, 5-2 NESCAC) against sixth-seeded Tufts (9-7, 4-6 NESCAC). The Panthers look to return to Sunday's championship match in pursuit of their seventh NESCAC title. Riding an 11-match win streak to start the season, Middlebury fell 8-1 to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on March 28, before putting together a 6-2 mark during April. Middlebury's two losses during the month came to Amherst and Williams in the final four matches of the season. Appearing in the tournament for the first time since 2011, Tufts will look to avenge a 5-4 loss to the Panthers on April 21. The Jumbos had all four of their NESCAC wins come in the month of April and will look for their first win in three matches, since an 8-1 triumph over Colby on April 24.

The Ephs' three losses this season all came as 5-4 decisions, to Cal Lutheran, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, and rival Amherst. Since the April 14 loss to the Jeffs, Williams has put together five NESCAC wins, including 8-1 decisions over Bates, Trinity, and Tufts.

Back on April 20th the Ephs faced off vs. Middlebury at Middlebury and claimed a 7-2 decision.

"I feel like we're playing well," said Eph head coach Dan Greenberg. "We've definitely been working hard, and aside from a few minor nags, we're healthy.

"Our senior leadership and experience is our biggest strength, and the fact that the entire team cares and brings great energy is key," added Greenberg. "On the tennis side, we're very confident in doubles at all three spots, and we're deep in singles."

Commenting on the NESCAC Tourney Greenberg pointed out, "There are definitely other strong conferences, but NESCAC has some of the top teams in the country, and the depth is impressive. We need to be intense and confident in what we do and enjoy the rigor of the matches.

Williams leads the league with 14 championships and will be looking for its first NESCAC title since 2003.

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