Ephs fall to Jeffs 5-4 in a down-to-the-wire nail-biter
WILLIAMSTOWN, MA — After a disappointing loss on Saturday away to Skidmore, the Ephs returned home on Sunday to face off against arch-rivals Amherst, where the Lord Jeffs did just enough to top the Ephs by the margin of 5-4, clinched thanks to a three-set comeback win by Jeff senior co-captain Chris Dale. With the win, the Jeffs' record goes to 29-2 (NESCAC 8-0), whereas the Ephs suffer their second loss in-a-row and fall to 11-5 (NESCAC 4-2) on the season.
The Ephs started out well in the doubles portion, taking two of the three possible points to have the advantage going into singles. The Jeffs managed to take the first match off the courts at three-doubles, however, as sophomore Andrew Yaraghi and freshman Anton Zykov dismissed the Eph sophomore pairing of Alexander Schidlovsky and Brian Astrachan 8-1. The other two courts faired much better for the Ephs, as sophomore Jose Raventos and freshman Rohan Shastri rode their early break at two-doubles all the way to an 8-5 victory over the Jeff sophomore duo of Michael Solimano and Aaron Revzin. The match advantage came down to Court 1, and Eph freshman Conrad Harron and senior Matt Micheli did not disappoint as they closed out their match 8-5 against Jeff seniors Joey Fritz and Justin Reindel.
In spite of being down 2-1, the Jeffs came out firing in the singles portion. Continuing his fine form from the doubles portion, Yaraghi cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 win over Raventos at the number five position, just before Solimano was able to put away Schidlovsky at three-singles 6-1, 6-3.
With the advantage now in favor of the Jeffs, the pressure was on the Ephs to continue to fight. At six-singles, Eph senior Adam Reich was down early to Reindel, losing the first set 6-1 and then down 5-2 in the second, but he managed to start a comeback, forcing Reindel to serve the match out at 5-4, which he was finally able to do, sending the Jeffs to within one point of clinching the match.
The Ephs would not give up so easily, however, as Eph sophomore Howard Weiss put in a strong overall performance at four-singles after a relatively slow start, defeating Zykov 6-4, 7-5. It then came down to the two matches that went the distance at one- and two-singles. Micheli lost his first set 6-4, but came back strong in both the second and the third set, first pushing the second set to a tiebreaker which he edged out 7-5 to send his match to a deciding set. The third set was nearly a mirror image, as once again Micheli pushed the set to a tiebreaker, but this time it went a little more comfortably as he was able to close Fritz out 7-3 in the tiebreaker, ending what was easily the most thrilling match of the day at one-singles. Harron on Court 2 put in a strong performance in the first set against Dale, managing to edge out Dale 7-5 after a very long, drawn-out, and back-and-forth first set, but Dale came back firing on all cylinders in the final two sets, downing Harron 6-1 and 6-2, to send the Jeffs to victory over the reigning national champion Ephs.
After the match, Eph head coach Dan Greenberg praised his team's effort coming off the loss on Saturday: "I feel good about how we bounced back from yesterday and feel even better about these doubles teams, but we missed some chances to win this match. Hopefully, that fuels our energy for practice, so that we can end the regular season strong."
The Ephs' next match is mid-week away against Trinity on Wednesday, as the Ephs play three away NESCAC matches in the next seven days. The Trinity match is scheduled to start at 4 PM EDT on Wednesday afternoon.
Amherst 5, Williams 4
- Micheli, Matt (WILLIAMS) def. Fritz, Joey (AMHERST) 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(3)
- Dale, Chris (AMHERST) def. Harron, Conrad (WILLIAMS) 5-7, 6-1, 6-2
- Solimano, Michael (AMHERST) def. Schidlovsky, Alexander (WILLIAMS) 6-1, 6-3
- Weiss, Howard (WILLIAMS) def. Zykov, Anton (AMHERST) 6-4, 7-5
- Yaraghi, Andrew (AMHERST) def. Raventos, Jose (WILLIAMS) 6-1, 6-1
- Reindel, Justin (AMHERST) def. Reich, Adam (WILLIAMS) 6-1, 6-4
- Micheli, Matt/Harron, Conrad (WILLIAMS) def. Fritz, Joey/Reindel, Justin (AMHERST) 8-5
- Raventos, Jose/Shastri, Rohan (WILLIAMS) def. Revzin, Aaron/Solimano, Michael (AMHERST) 8-5
- Yaraghi, Andrew/Zykov, Anton (AMHERST) def. Schidlovsky, Alexander/Astrachan, Brian (WILLIAMS) 8-1
Williams 11-5 (NESCAC 4-2), nationally ranked #5
Amherst 29-2 (NESCAC 8-0), nationally ranked #3