Jeffs Knock Off Top-Ranked Williams to Open Dual Match Schedule

Mimi Bell '11 (left) and Jennifer Newman '14 (middle) earned an 8-4 win for Amherst in the No. 3 doubles match.

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College women’s tennis team opened its dual match schedule at home with a 5-4 win over top-ranked Williams College Saturday afternoon. The Lord Jeffs won two of three doubles matches before splitting with the Ephs in singles play.

Gabby Devlin ’14 (McLean, VA) clinched the victory for Amherst with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Kara Shoemaker ’14 in a battle of two of the region’s top first-years. Shoemaker held a 4-3 lead in the second set, but Devlin came back to win the next three games to give the Lord Jeffs their first win of the season.

Amherst (1-0) leads Williams (1-1) in the all-time series, 32-23, and has won 16 of the past 21. Saturday’s clash of national powerhouses marked the fifth consecutive meeting in which the lower-ranked team has knocked off the ITA’s No. 1 squad. Amherst began the year ranked No. 3 after winning the consolation match at last year’s NCAA Tournament, while the Ephs held the top spot as the three-time defending national champions.

Saturday’s match began with Devlin and Jordan Brewer ’14 (Woodland Hills, CA) cruising past the Ephs’ top pair of Kristin Alotta ’12 and Nicole Reich ’11 by a score of 8-1. At No. 3, Mimi Bell ’11 (Cleveland, OH) and Jennifer Newman ’14 (Haverford, PA) earned an 8-4 win over Caroline Capute ’12 and Lindsay Thygesen ’14. Bell and Newman held a 5-4 lead in the match before pulling away with a strong finish.

Gabby Devlin '14 sealed the win for Amherst with a 6-3, 6-4 victory in the No. 6 singles match.

Williams earned its doubles point in the No. 2 match, where Nancy Worley ’13 and Taylor French ’12 came from behind for an 8-6 victory over Natasha Brown ’11 (Woodland Hills, CA) and Laura Danzig ’12 (Allendale, NY). The back-and-forth match saw the Lord Jeffs jump out to a 2-1 advantage, but the Ephs pushed back and held leads of 3-2 and 4-3. Amherst regained the lead at 5-4, but Williams would break Brown and Danzig for a 6-5 advantage. After each team held serve, Worley and French finished off what was the closest contest in doubles action.

Not one of Saturday’s singles matches required a third set, as the anticipated marathon felt more like a sprint compared to some of the epic matches these teams have played in recent years. Reich quickly tied things up at 2-2 with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Amherst’s Laken King ’11 (Bayside, NY) at No. 3. Carlissa King ’11 (Bayside, NY) handed the lead right back to Amherst when she defeated Capute at No. 4, 6-4, 6-3.

Brewer gave Amherst some more breathing room with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Alotta at No. 1. The top singles bout was a rematch of the ITA Regional Singles Championship finals, during which Brewer earned a 6-2, 6-0 victory to win the tournament.

Kathleen Elkins ’14 cut Amherst’s advantage to 4-3 when she finished off Caroline Richman ’13 (Pacific Palisades, CA) by a score of 6-1, 6-3 in the No. 5 matchup, but Devlin would soon wrap things up with her win over Shoemaker at No. 6. Putting the final touches on the afternoon was Worley, who brought the final score to 5-4 in favor of the hosts with her 7-6(1), 6-2 victory over Danzig at No. 2.

Amherst and Williams will not meet again until the NESCAC schedule opens in the spring. The Ephs will return to action Saturday, Oct. 9, when they head to Wesleyan University for an 11 a.m. match against the Cardinals. The Jeffs will next take part in Middlebury College’s Gail Smith Doubles Tournament, a two-day event that begins Saturday, Oct. 9.

#3 Amherst def. #1 Williams, 5-4
1. Jordan Brewer/Gabby Devlin (A) def. Kristin Alotta/Nicole Reich (W) 8-1
2. Nancy Worley/Taylor French (W) def. Natasha Brown/Laura Danzig (A) 8-6
3. Mimi Bell/Jennifer Newman (A) def. Caroline Capute/Lindsay Thygesen (W) 8-4

1. Jordan Brewer (A) def. Kristin Alotta (W) 6-3, 6-3
2. Nancy Worley (W) def. Laura Danzig (A) 7-6(1), 6-2
3. Nicole Reich (W) def. Laken King (A) 6-0, 6-1
4. Carlissa King (A) def. Caroline Capute (W) 6-4, 6-3
5. Kathleen Elkins (W) def. Caroline Richman (A) 6-1, 6-3
6. Gabby Devlin (A) def. Kara Shoemaker (W) 6-3, 6-4