Lord Jeffs Upset Williams 5-4 in NESCAC Tournament

MIDDLEBURY, VT - The 18th-ranked and sixth-seeded Amherst College men's tennis team completed an amazing upset of 4th-ranked and third-seeded Williams College this evening in the opening round of NESCAC Tournament action at Middlebury College, winning 5-4 in a five-hour match. 

Amherst's win marked the first time the Lord Jeffs had been able to get the best of their archrivals since the spring of 1994, when they took a 5-4 victory over the Ephs. 

In the only meeting between the two teams in the regular season, Williams took a 6-3 win at home on April 5. In a reverse of the first meeting, the The Lord Jeffs were able to take a 2-1 lead out of doubles play and put themselves in line for an upset.  

The Lord Jeffs were able to increase their lead to 3-1 before the Ephs tied the match at 3-3. The Jeffs took a 4-3 lead with a win by senior Jeff Wan (Staten Island, NY) at #3 singles, while Williams tied the match as Nick Lebedoff won his match at #2 singles over senior Mike Mintz (New York, NY), 6-4, 6-4.

Williams battled back to take three of the first five singles matches to finish, and push the match to a 4-4 tie. The only remaining singles player on the court for Amherst was first-year Sean Doerfler (Douglaston, NY) with the match and season on the line. The Lord Jeff rookie had taken the first set 7-6, and was in a tight battle for the second set when play was moved indoors due to darkness.

As Doerfler and his opponent, Karol Furmaga, shifted inside, the second set was tied at five games apiece. Doerfler ultimately dropped the second set 5-7 and fell behind 3-4 in the third and deciding set before battling cramps down the stretch. After being forced to use a medical timeout, Doerfler traded games to leave Furmaga up 5-4 and serving for the match. With the match on the line, the two players fittingly battled to deuce, before Furmaga started to cramp up during a pair of match points in his favor. Doerfler took the crucial game to tie the third set 5-5, with a chance to serve for a lead.

Doerfler won the next game to go up 6-5 before Furmaga battled back with one last effort to tie the third set at six all. With his entire team’s hopes riding on his shoulders, Doerfler took the final game of the third set to win 7-6. The final line in what will certainly go down as the match of the year: 7-6, 5-7, 7-6.

The Lord Jeffs advance to tomorrow’s conference semifinals, and will play the host Panthers at 4 p.m.

1 - Zach Lerner/Dan Kim (Amherst) def. Dan Greenberg/Bret Thatcher (Williams) – 8-4
2 - Gary Simonette/Nick Lebedoff (Williams) def. Moritz Koenig/Geoff Schwartz (Amherst) – 8-5
3 - Tal Avrahami/Michael Mintz (Amherst) def. Jeremy Weinberger/Rick Devlin (Williams) – 9-7

1 - Zach Lerner (Amherst) def. Daniel Greenberg (Williams) – 6-3, 6-0
2 - Nick Lebedoff (Williams) def. Michael Mintz (Amherst) – 6-4, 6-4
3 - Jeff Wan (Amherst) def. Gary Simonette (Williams) – 7-5, 6-3
4 - Jeremy Weinberger (Williams) def. Dan Kim (Amherst) – 6-1, 6-1
5 - Sean Doerfler (Amherst) def. Karol Furmaga (Williams) – 7-6 (3), 5-7, 7-6 (1)
6 - Rick Devlin (Williams) def. Geoff Schwartz (Amherst) – 6-3, 6-0