Jeffs Edge Westmont, Rally Falls Short at No. 6 Cal Lutheran

Contact: Matthew Hart

AMHERST, Mass. – The Amherst College men's tennis team split a pair of exciting matches on its second day of competition in Southern California Tuesday, coming up short in its upset bid against sixth-ranked Cal Lutheran, 6-3, but notching a 5-4 win over the NAIA's fifth-ranked squad, Westmont. The Jeffs improved to 4-4 on the year with the results and 3-2 on their trip to the Golden State.

The battle of top-20 Division III programs lived up to expectations, with the Kingsmen (11-1) needing several dramatic comebacks in singles play to pull out the win. CLU got off to a strong start in doubles, taking the top two spots as Amherst's Aaron Revzin '16 and Andrew Scheiner '15 fell 8-5 to the top Kingsmen duo of Nicholas Ballou and Ray Worley. The Jeffs' No. 2 pair, Mark Kahan '13 and Russell Einbinder '16, also came up short, falling 8-6 to Thomas Millet and Marcelo Sousa, but the Jeffs grabbed a point at third doubles as rookies Andrew Yaraghi and Ben Fife took care of Alex Nichols and Ian Slater, 8-4.

Trailing 2-1, the Jeffs rallied in singles play and appeared poised for the upset as they took the first set in four of six tilts. In the top spot, Yaraghi was the only Jeff to fall in two as Ballou put CLU up 3-1 with a 7-5, 6-3 win, but the Jeffs grabbed a point back at No. 6 as Revzin swept past Nick Jacobs, 6-0, 6-2. 

The remaining four matches each went the distance, but only one went in favor of the Jeffs. The first to finish was the No. 4 contest, where Einbinder took the opener, 6-4, but Millet rallied to win with 6-3 and 6-2 victories. Trailing 4-2, Scheiner drew the Jeffs within one as he posted his own comeback to beat Devon Belcher, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, but in the decisive third singles contest, Fife couldn't hold off the surge of Nichols, dropping the last two sets, 6-3, after winning the opener by the same margin. The Kingsmen capped the win as Worley outlasted Kahan in the No. 2 slot, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4.

1. Nicholas Ballou/Ray Worley (CLU) def. Aaron Revzin/Andrew Scheiner (AMH) 8-5
2. Thomas Millet/Marcelo Sousa (CLU) def. Mark Kahan/Russell Einbinder (AMH) 8-6
3. Andrew Yaraghi/Ben Fife (AMH) def. Alex Nichols/Ian Slater (CLU) 8-4 
1. Nicholas Ballou (CLU) def. Andrew Yaraghi (AMH) 7-5, 6-3
2. Ray Worley (CLU) def. Mark Kahan (AMH) 2-6, 7-5, 6-4
3. Alex Nichols (CLU) def. Ben Fife (AMH) 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
4. Thomas Millet (CLU) def. Russell Einbinder (AMH) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
5. Andrew Scheiner (AMH) def. Devon Belcher (CLU) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
6. Aaron Revzin (AMH) def. Nick Jacobs (CLU) 6-0, 6-2

A day after falling to the NAIA's third-ranked team (Vanguard), the Jeffs won a thriller against its fifth-ranked squad in Westmont, with Eli Mlaver '14 winning the decisive three-setter in singles play to cap the rally after the Jeffs dropped two of three doubles contests. Juniors Justin Reindel and Chris Dale were the lone Amherst pair to pick up a point as they topped Josh Barnard and Travis Kimsay at third doubles, 8-5. The  top Jeff duo of Joey Fritz '14 and Michael Solimano '16 couldn't stop Tim Goranson and John Bertram while Mlaver and Justin Hendrix '14 were downed by Rodrigo Schaefer and Lukas Zielen.

The bottom of the singles lineup powered Amherst's comeback as Hendrix cruised past Kimsay at No. 6 and Carlos de Bracamonte '16 handled Nick Szyndler in the fifth slot, 6-4, 6-2. Dale also notched a point for Amherst atop the order, besting Goransom, 6-2, 6-3, but Westmont evened the score as Schaefer edged Solimano at No. 2, 7-5, 6-4, and Bertram downed Reindel, 6-1, 6-2. That left it all up to the fourth singles contest where Mlaver rallied from a 6-3 first-set loss to Barnard, sweeping the second, 6-0, before winning the decisive third, 6-3, to deliver the match to Amherst.

Tim Goranson/John Bertram (W) def. Joey Fritz/Michael Solimano (A)
Rodrigo Schaefer/Lukas Zielen (W) def. Eli Mlaver/Justin Hendrix (A), 8-1
Justin Reindel/Chris Dale (W) def Josh Barnard/Travis Kimsay (A), 8-5
Dale (A) def. Goransom (W), 6-2, 6-3
Schaefer (W) def. Solimano (A), 7-5, 6-4
Bertram (W) def. Reindel (A), 6-1, 6-2
Mlaver (A) def. Barnard (W), 3-6, 6-0, 6-3
Carlos de Bracamonte (A) def. Nick Szyndler (W), 6-4, 6-2
Hendrix (A) def Kimsay (W), 6-2, 6-2

The Jeffs continue play on Wednesday with a pair of matches, facing Tufts on the Claremont courts while also traveling to Concordia (CA).