Athletics

Jeffs Get Past Ephs to Set up Title Match with Top-Ranked Emory

Contact: Justin Long

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Austin Chafetz '12 (right) sealed the win for Amherst on Wednesday.

CLAREMONT, CA – The Amherst College men's tennis team earned a 5-1 win over Williams College Wednesday afternoon to claim a spot in the NCAA Division III Championship finals for the third time in as many years. The Lord Jeffs will take on top-ranked Emory University Thursday afternoon in an attempt to bring home the program’s first national championship.

The second-ranked Lord Jeffs improved to 35-1 and increased their winning streak to 18 matches, while the eighth-ranked Ephs dropped to 17-8 and will take on Washington-St. Louis in the national consolation match. Amherst is 8-1 against Williams in the past nine meetings and has now stopped the Ephs’ title run in back-to-back years.

Amherst’s doubles teams needed to play from behind during Tuesday’s quarterfinal win over Trinity University, but the Lord Jeffs came out gunning on Wednesday. The top pair of Austin Chafetz ’12 and Luis Rattenhuber ’13 jumped out to a 4-1 lead and would hold on for an 8-4 victory, while Moritz Koenig ’11 and Wes Waterman ’12 had the same result at number two.  

The Jeffs entered the semifinals with a 15-0 doubles record in the 2011 postseason, but the Ephs put an end to the impressive streak when Will Petrie and Kevin Shallcross took a 4-3 lead and pulled away for an 8-4 win over Mark Kahan ’13 and Chris Dale ’14 at number three. In addition to the result marking Amherst’s first doubles loss since Apr. 30, it was the first time Dale had dropped a doubles match all spring (13-1).

Although the Ephs found a way to slow down Amherst’s doubles onslaught, they could not figure out a solution for Kahan in singles play. The Lord Jeff sophomore entered the semifinals with a 16-match win streak, and he kept it going with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Matt Micheli to give Amherst a 3-1 lead. Rattenhuber then brought Amherst within one point of clinching the match when he defeated Felix Sun by a score of 6-2, 6-2 in the top spot.

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Amherst is in search of the program's first national title.

After earning 6-3 win over Trey Meyer in the first set at number three, Chafetz brought all eyes to his court when he broke his Eph counterpart to take a 5-1 lead in the second frame. The Amherst southpaw picked up a pair of quick aces and held on for the 6-3, 6-1 victory, securing his team’s third consecutive appearance in the NCAA finals.

Amherst’s Waterman and Andrew Jung ’12 were leading their matches at five and six, respectively, when play was stopped, while the Ephs’ Zach Weiss took the first set from Joey Fritz ’14 at number four.

The Jeffs will need to be at their best on Thursday if they want to take home the program’s first-ever national title, as Emory (24-3) is coming off a 5-0 win over Washington-St. Louis and has been virtually untouchable this postseason. The Eagles are undefeated against Division III competition this year, with their last loss coming in heartbreaking fashion at the hands of Amherst in the 2010 national quarterfinals.

Emory head coach John Browning has led his team to the national quarterfinals in each of his 12 years at the helm, earning the NCAA title in 2003 and 2006. The Lord Jeffs will have their hands full with the singles contingent of Dillon Pottish, Chris Goodwin and Colin Egan, who are a combined 73-8 this spring and have not lost a singles contest to a Division III opponent.

Thursday’s consolation and finals will begin at 5 p.m. (EST) at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center in Claremont, Calif. Live score updates will be available for both matches. For more information, visit the Amherst Championship Website.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

2011 NCAA Division III Championship Semifinals
Amherst College def. Williams College, 5-1
Wednesday, May 25 @ Claremont, CA

1) Austin Chafetz/Luis Rattenhuber (A) def. Bryan Chow/Matt Micheli (W) 8-4
2) Moritz Koenig/Wes Waterman (A) def. Felix Sun/Trey Meyer (W) 8-4
3) Will Petrie/Kevin Shallcross (W) def. Mark Kahan/Chris Dale (A) 8-4

1) Luis Rattenhuber (A) def. Felix Sun (W) 6-2, 6-2
2) Mark Kahan (A) def. Matt Micheli (W) 6-4, 6-1
3) Austin Chafetz (A) def. Trey Meyer (W) 6-3, 6-1
4) Zach Weiss (W) led Joey Fritz (A) 7-5, 1-1 (DNF)
5) Wes Waterman (A) led Bryan Chow (W) 2-6, 6-1, 2-1 (DNF)
6) Andrew Jung (A) led Dylan Page (W) 6-4, 4-2 (DNF)

Order of Finish (Doubles): 3, 1, 2
Order of Finish (Singles): 2, 1, 3