Jeffs Claim 5th Straight NESCAC Title with 5-4 Win Over Williams

NESCAC09From a NESCAC release

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The top-seeded Amherst College women's tennis team (17-1) defeated second-seeded Williams (16-2) for the second time this season, 5-4, to claim its fifth consecutive outright NESCAC championship.  The Lord Jeffs remained collected after falling into a 2-1 hole in doubles play, coming from behind to take four of the six singles matches to grab the win. 

Amherst, which jumped from #6 to #1 in the latest ITA national poll, has won 17 consecutive matches since falling to Williams in the 2008-09 season opener on Oct. 11.

Williams’ Nikki Reich and Cary Gibson lost at court one to Brittany Berckes (Secaucus, NJ) and Natasha Brown (Woodland Hills, CA), 8-6.  Taylor French and Grace Baljon paired up at court two for a dominant 8-2 showing, while Kristin Alotta and Annie Hancock put the Ephs up with an 8-6 win at court three.

Amherst responded well to the deficit, winning the first two singles matches to go ahead 3-2.  Laken King (Laurelton, NY) defeated Lucy Marchese, 6-0, 7-5, while Baljon fell at court one to Berckes, 6-1, 6-2.  The last time Baljon and Berckes met, Baljon came out on the winning end in a thrilling three set match but couldn’t overpower Amherst’s number one player in today’s contest.

Annie Hancock evened the match at three apiece, winning in straight sets over Mimi Bell (Cleveland, OH) at court six, 6-3, 6-2.  The tie was short lived as Reich fell at court three.  Reich had appeared to be in the driver’s seat of her match, winning at love in the first set.  Amherst’s Jill Wexler (Beverly, MA) rebounded to take the final two sets.  Kristin Alotta knotted up the score once more, cruising to a 6-1 second set to take the match at court four over Brown.

Amherst’s Carlissa King (Laurelton, NY) won the decisive fifth point for her squad, when after a 4-4 tie, she kept her cool when serving for the match to close out a 6-2 third set in a three-set battle with Gibson.  Gibson had taken the second set, 7-5, but could not keep up her momentum in the final frame.

Last season, Williams also fell in the NESCAC title match to Amherst by an identical score, before powering through the top teams in the country to win a national championship. Amherst will look to carry momentum from its fifth straight conference title into the upcoming NCAA Tournament, and follow in its archrival's footsteps for a national title this year.

Amherst 5, Williams 4 ~ Williamstown, MA ~ 2009 NESCAC Championship ~ May 3, 2009
1)    Berckes/Brown (A) def. Reich/Gibson (W) --- 8-6
2)    French/Baljon (W) def. Ankola/Bell (A) --- 8-2
3)    Alotta/Hancock (W) def. Danzig/Wexler (A) --- 8-6
1)    Brittany Berckes (A) def. Grace Baljon (W) --- 6-1, 6-2
2)    Carlissa King (A) def. Cary Gibson (W) --- 6-2, 5-7, 6-2
3)    Jill Wexler (A) def. Nikki Reich (W) --- 0-6, 6-4, 6-3
4)    Kristin Alotta (W) def. Natasha Brown (A) --- 7-6(3), 6-1
5)    Laken King (A) def. Lucy Marchese (W) --- 6-0, 7-5
6)    Annie Hancock (W) def. Amelia Bell (A) --- 6-3, 6-2