Jeffs Rally Back for 5-4 Win Over Williams

Senior Zack Lerner won both his doubles and singles
match during Amherst's 5-4 win over Williams.
AMHERST, MA – The 7th-ranked Amherst College men’s tennis team took on NESCAC and Little Three archrival, No. 5 Williams College this afternoon at the indoor courts at Hampshire College. The Lord Jeffs rallied in singles play to erase an early deficit, and pull out a 5-4 win over the Ephs.

Amherst's win marked only the second 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 last year's NESCAC Championship quarterfinals, Amherst earned a thrilling 5-4 win over Williams in a major upset.

In doubles play, the Ephs emerged with a 2-1 lead, with Amherst’s only point coming in the number ones match. The Lord Jeff pairing of Zack Lerner (Scarsdale, NY) and Moritz Koenig (Hamburg, Germany) edged their longtime rivals of Bret Thacher and Dicken Chapin by a score of 8-5 to keep Amherst from falling into a 3-0 hole.

In singles play, the matches had to be played in staggered starts as the indoor facility only had four courts. With the top four matches all starting together, Amherst closed the gap winning two of the first three singles bouts to tie the team score at 3-3. During the comeback, the Lord Jeffs got wins from Austin Chafetz (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA) and Andrew Jung (Battle Creek, MI), while Williams’ Rick Devlin topped Koenig in straight sets.

The Ephs saw Amherst take its first lead of the day as Lerner, the senior captain, battled to an epic three-set win over Nick Lebedoff. Lerner dropped the first set 5-7 as Lebedoff scored a service break late, before battling back for 6-3 and 7-5 wins in the second and third sets. Lerner battled cramps throughout the later sets of the over three hour match, but still pulled out a win to put Amherst ahead for good.

Amherst clinched the victory when Wes Waterman (Palm Beach Gardens, FL) pulled out a two-set win at number six singles. Waterman topped Thacher 6-2, 6-2, before Williams grabbed the final point on a Kevin Shallcross super tiebreaker win over Priit Gross.

With the victory, Amherst wins its 20th match of the year, improving to 20-4 (4-0 NESCAC). Williams drops to 6-3, and will host Bowdoin next weekend. Amherst returns to action on Saturday against Trinity at home, before playing both Babson and Bowdoin next Sunday.

Amherst College 5 : 4 Williams College ~ Amherst, MA ~ Sunday, April 12, 2009

1. Zack Lerner/Moritz Koenig (AC) def. Bret Thacher/Dicken Chaplin  (WC) 8-5
2. Nick Lebedoff/Will Petrie (WC) def. Austin Chafetz/Priit Gross (AC)  8-1
3. Jeremy Weinberger/Kevin Shallcross (WC) def. Andrew Jung/Wes  Waterman (AC) 8-6
1. Zack Lerner (AC) def. Nick Lebedoff (WC) 5-7, 6-3, 7-5
2. Austin Chafetz (AC) def. Jeremy Weinberger (WC) 4-6, 7-6, 6-2
3. Rick Devlin (WC) def. Moritz Koenig (AC) 6-4, 7-6
4. Andrew Jung (AC) def. Will Petrie (WC) 6-1, 6-2
5. Kevin Shallcross (WC) def. Priit Gross (AC) 6-4, 3-6, (10-5)
6. Wes Waterman (AC) def. Bret Thacher (WC) 6-2, 6-2