Amherst Falls to Middlebury in NESCAC Finals, 5-3

Championship LogoFrom a NESCAC release

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA. – The second-seeded Amherst College (23-5) men's tennis team fell to top-seeded Middlebury (18-2) in the 2009 NESCAC Championship match 5-3 this afternoon in Williamstown, Mass.  The Panthers’ top player Conrad Olson eked out a third set tiebreaker, 10-8, to take the decisive fifth point over Amherst senior  Zach Lerner (Scarsdale, NY) and Middlebury’s first conference championship since 2007.

Lerner ended up on the wrong end of two tiebreaks this afternoon, also falling at number one doubles in a 7-3 tiebreak.  The win at number one doubles by Middlebury's Farah and Thompson was critical, as Amherst swept the bottom two doubles matches for a 2-1 advantage heading into singles play.

Middlebury played brilliant singles play to swing the momentum back their way.  Elliot Jai took a quick win at court six, 6-1, 6-2, while Andrew Peters followed at court four with a 6-2, 6-2 victory.  Amherst’s lone singles win came on court two, where Austin Chafetz (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA) won in straight sets over Middlebury’s Andrew Thompson.  

With the match knotted at three apiece, Andrew Lee captured a win at court three while the matches at courts one and five headed into their third sets.  The battle at court one was an exciting finish to a competitive weekend of collegiate tennis, with Olson sealing the victory and the NESCAC championship for Middlebury.  

Despite the result, the Amherst team will most likely receive an at-large bid to the upcoming NCAA Team Tournament, while Lerner should make the field in singles, as well as doubles with partner Moritz Koenig (Hamburg, Germany).
Middlebury 5, Amherst 3 ~ Williamstown, MA ~ NESCAC Championship Match ~ May 3, 2009
1)    Farah/Thompson (M) def. Lerner/Koenig (A) --- 9-8(3)
2)    Gross/Chafetz (A) def. Bonfiglio/Lee (M) --- 8-5
3)    Waterman/Jung (A) def. Olson/Peters (M) --- 8-5
1)    Olsen (M) def. Lerner (A) --- 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(8)
2)    Chafetz (A) def. Thompson (M) --- 6-4, 6-2
3)    Lee (M) def. Jung (A) --- 6-2, 7-5
4)    Peters (M) def. Koenig (A) --- 6-2, 6-2
5)    Odell (M) vs. Gross – DNF
6)    Jai (M) def. Waterman (A) --- 6-1, 6-2