Amherst Falls Shy of Seventh-Straight NESCAC Title
Amherst will begin its quest for a national title next weekend.
Contact: Justin Long
MIDDLEBURY, VT – The top-seeded Amherst College women's tennis team had won each of the past six NESCAC Championship titles outright, but the Lord Jeffs' impressive streak finally came to a halt with a 5-3 loss to second-seeded Williams College Sunday afternoon at Middlebury.
After Amherst and Williams shared the 2004 conference crown, the Lord Jeffs won each of the next six outright, defeating the Ephs in the finals five years in a row. Williams (17-3) turned the tables to claim its first outright championship since 2003, while Amherst dropped to 16-2 and had its win streak snapped at 12.
Two of the doubles matches were tightly contested, but it was Amherst that held a 2-1 edge heading into singles play. The top pair of Jordan Brewer ’14 (Woodland Hills, CA) and Gabby Devlin ’14 (McLean, VA) recovered from Saturday’s setback with a convincing 8-2 win over Nicole Reich and Lucy Marchese, while Natasha Brown ’11 (Woodland Hills, CA) and Mimi Bell ’11 (Cleveland, OH) gave the Jeffs a 2-0 lead with a 9-7 victory at number two.
Salvaging a point for Williams was the number three doubles pairing of Kathleen Elkins and Caroline Capute, which handed Amherst’s Caroline Richman ’13 (Pacific Palisades, CA) and Jennifer Newman ’14 (Haverford, PA) an 8-6 loss. Elkins and Capute became the first pair to stop Richman and Newman in quite some time, as the Lord Jeff duo had won nine straight heading into the finals.
Marchese tied the match at 2-2 when she defeated Devlin at number three, 6-0, 6-4. Amherst responded with a dominant win by Brewer in the top slot, 6-1, 6-0, but that would be the final point the Jeffs won on the day. The Ephs soon tied things up at 3-3 when Nancy Worley took care of Carlissa King ’11 (Bayside, NY) at number two, 6-3, 6-0.
The Ephs came within a point of clinching when Elkins defeated Richman in the fifth position, 6-4, 6-3, putting an end to Richman’s 12-match win streak in singles play. Holding a 4-3 lead, Williams took home the title when Reich finished off Brown at number five, 6-4, 6-3. Amherst’s Laken King ’11 (Bayside, NY) was up a set over Capute at number six when play was stopped.
The Ephs earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, while Amherst will likely receive an at-large bid and even serve as a host for the regional rounds. The NCAA Tournament is set to begin Friday, May 13.
NESCAC Women’s Tennis Championship Finals (@ Middlebury)
No. 2 Williams def. No. 1 Amherst, 5-3
1) Jordan Brewer/Gabby Devlin (A) def. Nicole Reich/Lucy Marchese (W) 8-2
2) Natasha Brown/Mimi Bell (A) def. Taylor French/Kristin Alotta (W) 9-7
3) Kathleen Elkins/Caroline Capute (W) def. Caroline Richman/Jen Newman (A) 8-6
1) Jordan Brewer (A) def. Kristin Alotta (W) 6-1, 6-0
2) Nancy Worley (W) def. Carlissa King (A) 6-3, 6-0
3) Lucy Marchese (W) def. Gabby Devlin (A) 6-0, 6-4
4) Kathleen Elkins (W) def. Caroline Richman (A) 6-4, 6-3
5) Nicole Reich (W) def. Natasha Brown (A) 6-4, 6-3
6) Laken King (A) led Caroline Capute (W) 6-3, 4-5 (DNF)