Jeffs to Host Top-Ranked Middlebury in NCAA Finals Rematch
Contact: Justin Long
Amherst is looking to secure the No. 1 seed in the upcoming NESCAC Championship.
AMHERST, MA – Fans will be treated to a rematch of the 2010 NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship finals when fourth-ranked Amherst College hosts top-ranked Middlebury College this Saturday at 1 p.m. The winner of Saturday’s match will likely receive the No. 1 seed in the upcoming NESCAC Championship.
When these teams last met, they were competing at Oberlin College with an NCAA title on the line. The Lord Jeffs were making their second consecutive appearance in the finals thanks to a pair of upsets over nationally-ranked powerhouses, but they finally met their match in an experienced Middlebury squad. The Panthers earned a 5-1 victory to claim their second national title and have been holding on to the top ranking in Division III ever since.
Amherst (28-1, 7-0 NESCAC) and Middlebury (16-1, 6-0) have been two of the most dominant teams throughout the 2010-11 season, with the Jeffs carrying an 11-match win streak into the weekend and the Panthers coming to town as winners of eight straight. Middlebury is unbeaten in its past 25 conference matches and is looking to wrap up its third consecutive perfect season in NESCAC play, while Amherst needs only one more victory to set a new program record for wins in a season.
Middlebury posted a 15-0 record against Amherst during a dominant eight-year span, but the Jeffs finally got back in the win column with a 5-1 victory in the 2009 NCAA Quarterfinals. The Panthers have won nine consecutive regular-season meetings, with each of the past two ending in a 5-4 score. The regular season finale in 2009 was particularly thrilling, as the five-hour marathon ended with a three-set victory for the Panthers in the number three singles match.
Highlighting the Middlebury lineup is 2010 All-America selection Andy Peters ’11, who has posted a 13-1 doubles record and has won nine of his past 10 singles matches as the Panthers’ top player. Derek Angle ’12 is also 9-1 in his past 10, while the No. 3 doubles pairing of Spencer Lunghino ’13 and David Farah ’12 is 14-1 this spring. Middlebury’s doubles play has been outstanding all year, notably taking all three points against Williams last week.
The Lord Jeffs will counter with the likes of Mark Kahan ’13, Amherst’s number two singles player and the reigning ITA National Rookie of the Year. Kahan’s second year at Amherst has been just as impressive as his first was, with his 11-match win streak in singles play accompanying a 16-3 record in doubles. Taking on Peters at the top of the ladder will likely be Luis Rattenhuber ’13, while Andrew Jung ’12 will put his 11-0 singles record and 9-1 doubles mark on the line.
Middlebury has claimed back-to-back NESCAC crowns and has won six of the past seven titles, while the Jeffs will look to be crowned conference champions for the first time since 1992. The conference championship is set to take place Friday-Sunday, May 6-8, at Middlebury, with the Panthers and Jeffs likely to receive first-round byes as the tournament’s top two seeds.
Updates from Saturday’s match will be posted to Twitter and the NESCAC scoreboard throughout the day.