Contact: Matthew Hart
AMHERST, Mass. – Taking two of three in doubles and powering to three straight-set singles wins, the Williams College women's tennis team upended top-ranked Amherst College, 5-2, to claim the 2013 NESCAC title and hand the Lord Jeffs their first setback to a Division III opponent this year.
The third-ranked Ephs improved to 18-4 with the victory, snapping the host Jeffs' 15-match win streak as Amherst fell to 17-2. With Williams claiming the conference's automatic berth in the upcoming NCAA Championship, Amherst will await the announcement of the tournament field on Monday night in hopes of an at-large bid.
After Amherst swept doubles from Williams on April 20, the Ephs drew first blood this time as No. 2s Maria Pylypiv and Kathleen Elkins downed Jen Newman '14 and Zoe Pangalos '14, 8-3. Amherst drew even moments later, however, as Caroline Richman '13 and Safi Aly '15 finished off an 8-2 takedown of Nancy Worley and Veranika Li.
With all eyes focused on the first doubles contest, Jordan Brewer '13 and Gabby Devlin '14 rallied from an early 4-1 deficit to go up 6-5, but Kara Shoemaker and Rebecca Curran recovered, breaking for an 8-7 lead before Amherst responded with a break of its own to force a tiebreaker. The Jeffs fell behind 4-2 in the extra session then rallied to go up 6-5, but the Ephs were too strong down the stretch, breaking serve with a Curran winner to claim a 9-8 (9-7) win and become the first D-III duo to defeat Brewer and Devlin on the year.
Needing to win four singles contests, Amherst couldn't turn the tide as the Ephs took four of six opening sets. Pangalos tied it momentarily at No. 6 when she set down Alex Stone, 6-2, 6-3, but moments later the Ephs went up 3-2 as Shoemaker took down Brewer at No. 1, 6-3, 6-4. Elkins then brought Williams to the doorstep as she finished off Newman at twos, 6-4, 6-3.
With Sue Ghosh '16 and Curran in the third set at No. 3 and Devlin still battling Pylypiv in the second, Worley provided the clincher for Williams at No. 4 as she pulled away from Richman. A day after winning a three-set marathon against Middlebury to send Amherst to the final, the Jeff senior couldn't provide another round of heroics, falling behind 3-2 in the second before Worley powered to the decisive 6-1, 6-2 win.
In the two unfinished contests, Ghosh downed Curran 6-0 in the opener, but the Eph sophomore rallied for a 6-2 win in the second and the pair were tied 1-1 in the finale at match's end. Meanwhile, Pylypiv took the first set at fifth singles from Devlin, 6-4, and had rallied from a 5-0 deficit in the second to knot it at 5-5.
The 50-team NCAA tournament bracket will be announced on NCAA.com Monday evening after 7 p.m.