CARY, N.C. – The top-ranked Amherst College men's tennis team's run at a second consecutive national title came to a close on Monday, as the Lord Jeffs suffered a 5-3 loss to Washington-St. Louis in the quarterfinals.
Amherst (31-3) lost all three doubles matches and couldn't climb out of the hole despite a valiant comeback attempt in singles action. This marks the first time in four years Amherst will not compete in the national title match, while the Bears (18-6) advance to take on fourth-ranked Kenyon in Tuesday's semifinal round.
The Class of 2012 finishes its time at Amherst with an incredible 122-22 record, including a dominant 67-4 mark in the last two years. The Lord Jeff seniors were also part of two NESCAC titles, three NCAA finals appearances and the program's only national championship.
Washington-St. Louis began the week as the lowest ranked team remaining in the tournament (No. 15), but the Bears came out firing and held significant momentum early on in doubles action. Amherst's top pair of Austin Chafetz and Luis Rattenhuber battled back to take a 5-4 lead against Adam Putterman and Ross Putterman, but the Bears rallied to win the next four games for the 8-5 final.
The Bears made it 2-0 when Gary Parizher and Jeffrey Hirsch broke serve for the 8-5 win over Wes Waterman and Chris Dale in the third flight. Amherst's No. 2 pairing of Mark Kahan and Andrew Jung overcame a 4-1 deficit and tied their match at 5-5, 6-6, 7-7 and 8-8, but Kareem Farah and Parker Chang accounted for the final five points of the tiebreaker and completed the stunning sweep for the underdogs.
The Lord Jeffs quickly regained momentum and tied the match at 3-3 after dominant performances in the second, fourth and fifth flights. Chafetz was the first to finish, taking the opening set against Parizher before shutting him out in the second in the No. 2 matchup.
Jung was equally dominant with his 6-0, 6-2 win over Chang in the fifth flight. One court over was sophomore Joey Fritz, who was in control of Farah from start to finish and brought the score to 3-3 with his 6-2, 6-4 result.
Washington pulled back ahead with a straight-set win in the third flight. Rattenhuber seemed to be cruising with a 4-1 lead, but Ross Putterman battled back for a 6-4 result in the opening set and won the second by the same score, as Rattenhuber's final attempt was pushed wide right.
After Waterman and Washington's Tim Noack pushed their match to a third set, all eyes were on Kahan and Adam Putterman in the top flight. Putterman took the first set by a score of 6-4 and then held serve to take leads of 5-4 and 6-5 in the second, closing out the upset when a hit from Kahan went long for the 7-5 final. When play was stopped, Waterman held a 4-0 lead over Noack in the third frame.
Amherst's winning streak came to a halt at 16 matches, while the Bears—who won the 2008 national title—improved to 12-1 in their past 13. Monday was a rematch of the 2009 NCAA semifinals, when Amherst earned a 5-2 win over the Bears.
Kahan, Chafetz and Rattenhuber will return to action Thursday for the start of the NCAA Singles Championship, with Chafetz and Rattenhuber also teaming up in the doubles tournament. More information can be found on the Amherst championship website.
#15 Washington-St. Louis def. #1 Amherst, 5-3
1. Adam Putterman/Ross Putterman (W) def. Austin Chafetz/Luis Rattenhuber (A) 8-5
2. Kareem Farah/Parker Chang (W) def. Andrew Jung/Mark Kahan (A) 9-8(1)
3. Gary Parizher/Jeffrey Hirsch (W) def. Wes Waterman/Chris Dale (A) 8-5
1. Adam Putterman (W) def. Mark Kahan (A) 6-4, 7-5
2. Austin Chafetz (A) def. Gary Parizher (W) 6-2, 6-0
3. Ross Putterman (W) def. Luis Rattenhuber (A) 6-4, 6-4
4. Joey Fritz (A) def. Kareem Farah (W) 6-2, 6-4
5. Andrew Jung (A) def. Parker Chang (W) 6-0, 6-2
6. Wes Waterman (A) vs. Tim Noack (W) 3-6, 7-5, 4-0, unfinished
Order of Finish (Doubles): 1, 3, 2
Order of Finish (Singles): 2, 5, 4, 3, 1