Jeffs Rally in Singles, Knock Off No. 5 Williams, 5-4

Contact: Matthew Hart

AMHERST, Mass. – The 17th-ranked Amherst College men’s tennis team notched its biggest win of the season in dramatic fashion on Sunday, recovering from a 3-0 deficit to pull out a thrilling 5-4 comeback win over fifth-ranked archrival Williams College.

Running its win streak to eight matches while improving to 21-7 overall and remaining unbeaten in NESCAC play at 5-0, Amherst dealt the Ephs (11-3, 3-1 NESCAC) their first conference setback of the year with an inspired comeback in singles play. After Williams swept doubles, the Jeffs notched four straight-set triumphs before senior Mark Kahan’s three-set win at second doubles clinched the victory for Amherst.

It appeared that national rankings would dictate the outcome early as the Ephs’ top duo of Alexander Schidlovsky and Richard Meyer powered past Kahan and Michael Solimano ’16 at first doubles, 8-4, and the visitors squeezed out tight 9-8 wins in the other two contests with No. 2s Matt Micheli and Felix Sun edging Amherst rookies Ben Fife and Andrew Yaraghi while Bryan Chow and Brian Astrachan outlasted Jeff juniors Joey Fritz and Chris Dale.

Momentum shifted in singles play, however, as Amherst quickly grabbed two points back with Yaraghi topping Micheli 6-2, 6-4 at No. 3 and Justin Reindel ’14 taking sixth singles from Howard Weiss 6-3, 6-3. Meanwhile, Dale held off a strong comeback bid from Chow at No. 5, winning 6-1, 7-6 to tie the count, before Fritz stopped Meyer in the top pairing 6-3, 7-6 to put the Jeffs on the doorstep.

Having dropped the first game of his No. 2 contest to Sun 6-4, Kahan regrouped and won 6-4 to force a third set. Riding the team’s gathering momentum, the Amherst senior dominated the tiebreaker, winning 6-1 to complete the Jeffs’ remarkable comeback. Williams No. 4 Zach Weiss held off Fife 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in the day’s longest contest, but it was too little too late for the Ephs as Amherst secured its second one-point win over its rivals in as many years.

The Jeffs return to action with a pair of 1 p.m. home matches next weekend, hosting Trinity on Saturday before another big Sunday contest against No. 6 Bowdoin.

NO. 17 AMHERST 5, NO. 5 WILLIAMS 4
Doubles
1. Alexander Schidlovsky/Richard Meyer (W) def. Mark Kahan/Michael Solimano (A) 8-4
2. Matt Micheli/Felix Sun (W) def. Ben Fife/Andrew Yaraghi (A) 9-8
3. Bryan Chow/Brian Astrachan (W) def. Joey Fritz/Chris Dale (A) 9-8
Singles
1. Fritz (A) def. Meyer (W) 6-3, 7-6
2. Kahan (A) def. Sun (W) 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
3. Yaraghi (A) def. Micheli (W) 6-2, 6-4
4. Zach Weiss (W) def. Fife (A) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
5. Dale (A) def. Chow (W) 6-1, 7-6
6. Justin Reindel (A) def. Howard Weiss (W) 6-3, 6-3