WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The campuses of archrivals Williams College and Amherst College are only 60 miles from each other in Massachusetts, but their women's tennis teams will travel some 2,800 miles to face off in the NCAA DIII Quarterfinals in Claremont, Calif., on Mon., May 21.
The Ephs and Mammoths will play on 9:00 PM EST.
The Williams Ephs and the Amherst Mammoths have met 80 times since 1977 in women's tennis and thanks to a current 10-match win streak Williams leads 41-39.
Williams and Amherst represent half of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) teams participating in the NCAA Quarterfinals. Middlebury College and Wesleyan University will also battle each other on May 21. Half of the eight-team NCAA quarterfinals field is from the NESCAC.
"Four teams in the final eight and five of the top eight seeds in this year's tournament were NESCAC teams," noted Eph first year head coach Anik Cepeda. "That's a testament to the strength of this conference and really is an absolute treat that so many are traveling out to California for the final rounds. We're proud to be a part of the NESCAC."
In NCAA Tournament play Williams holds a slight, 4-3 advantage over Amherst and the Ephs are 2-1 in NCAA title matches vs. the Mammoths. "No matter the occasion or the venue, playing Amherst is always a treat," stated Cepeda. "We'll dig in and tackle it like any other battle."
Cepeda's Ephs will bring an unblemished record, 20-0, with them to California, but the road to that glittering success has not been easy. "We've spent an entire season overcoming obstacles, pushing through difficult moments, and coming out on the other side in one piece," Cepeda stated. "There's a lot of confidence to take from those experiences, and a lot to look forward to in this final stretch."
"What I like right now is what I've liked all along - we play and compete for one another" Cepeda added. Our ability to dig and fight, create opportunities, and then we take advantage of those opportunities... that's a Williams women's tennis trademark."
According to Cepeda the strength of this Eph team is, "Our team-first mindset and experience."
The Ephs enter the NCAA Quarterfinals as the defending champions having come back from a 4-1 deficit last year versus Middlebury in the semifinals to win 5-4 and then the Ephs defeated Emory 5-4 in the championship tilt.
Following the team portion of the NCAA Championships the NCAA Singles Tournament will begin on May 24. Juli Raventos will compete in the Singles Tournament and Rachel Cross has been named as the fourth alternate in singles.
Raventos will also compete in the NCAA Doubles Tournament teaming, up with her classmate Julia Cancio. This year the Raventos/Cancio duo has compiled a 2017-18 record of 23-1 and they are 16-0 in the spring.
Thirty-two singles players will vie for the singles title and 16 doubles teams will compete for the doubles crown.
2017-18 Records of Eph players traveling to Claremont:
Doubles: 23-1 (Raventos), 27-2 Overall
Doubles: 23-1 (Cancio), 27-2 Overall