CLAREMONT, CALIF. -- Against the formidable University of Chicago Maroons (ranked #1 in NCAA DIII), the Williams College Ephs (ranked #6) proved that they belong in the the top tier of DIII teams after a close, 5-4 defeat.
The Ephs and Maroons fought neck and neck in singles play, winning three matches apiece. In doubles play, Chicago took a 2-1 edge, resulting in a tight 5-4 match between two highly ranked DIII squads.
Williams' duo of junior Alex Taylor and freshman Peter Frelinghuysen delivered, defeating Chicago's Jeremy Yuan and Tyler Raclin by an 8-3 margin. But Chicago came back by winning each of the two remaining doubles matches. Erik Kerrigan and Ninan Kumar defeated Eph sophomores Arturo Kam and Calvin Chung, 8-3, while Chicago's Joshua Xu and Charlie Pei defeated the Williams team of Deepak Indrakanti and Austin Barr, 8-5.
While Chicago earned the edge in doubles play, the Ephs and Maroons fought to a 3-3 tie in singles play. Kam and Frelinghuysen started off singles play with victories for the Ephs, with both wins coming in two sets. But the Maroons won each of the next three singles matches. First, Yuan fought off Eph junior Ananth Raghavan in two sets, each decided by a 6-4 margin. Next, Pei defeated Chung, 6-4, 6-3. Finally, Xu beat Reich in two sets -- the second decided by a tiebreak -- clinching a fifth match and therefore, a Chicago victory. Williams junior Alex Taylor defeated Chicago's Alejandro Rodriguez in three sets, finishing the match with a 10-4 victory in the match tiebreaker, resulting in the final score of 5-4.
"We played a tough match against the number 1 ranked team in the country," said Eph assistant coach Felix Sun following the close loss. "We could have stepped it up more in doubles, but singles was electric. Competed well at every spot."
Despite a 3-4 start to the season, Sun remains optimistic about the team's chances going forward: "There's work to be done, and we're going to do it. Full speed ahead."
On Sunday, the Ephs look to bounce back against Trinity in their first match against a NESCAC opponent this season.
1. Arturo Kam (W) def. Erik Kerrigan (C) -- 6-3, 6-3
2. Jeremy Yuan (C) def. Ananth Raghavan (W) -- 6-4, 6-4
3. Charlie Pei (C) def. Calvin Chung (W) -- 6-4, 6-3
4. Alex Taylor (W) def. Alejandro Rodriguez (C) -- 6-3. 6-7. 10-4 (match tiebreaker)
5. Peter Frelinghuysen (W) def. Alex Guzhva (C) -- 6-3, 7-6
6. Joshua Xu (C) def. Noah Reich (W) -- 6-2, 7-6