AMHERST, Mass. – The Amherst College women's tennis team captured the sixth-seed in the NESCAC Championship tournament and will face off against third-seeded Tufts in First Round action on Friday, May 5 at 1 p.m. at the Hunt Tournament Courts in Williamstown, Mass.
The 12th-ranked team in the nation, Amherst (6-8 overall, 4-4 NESCAC) is set to make its 17th consecutive trip to the conference postseason and enters the First Round looking to secure the program's ninth NESCAC crown, and first since 2014. The Mammoths are 3-0 all-time in opening round competition.
Tufts (13-5 overall, 6-3 NESCAC), standing as the No. 6 team in the country, grabbed the third-seed and is aiming to advance to the semifinals for the first time since the 2011 season. Owning wins over Bates, Colby, Hamilton, Trinity, Wesleyan and Amherst this spring, the Jumbos enter tournament play looking to win their first ever NESCAC title.
Traveling to Medford, Mass. on April 19 for a regular season showdown, Amherst suffered a hard-fought 5-4 loss to the Jumbos – with the sides splitting singles action, 3-3, and Tufts owning a 2-1 edge in doubles competition. In the NESCAC postseason, the Mammoths are 4-0 against Tufts, including a 5-4 victory in the opening round last year.
THE REST OF THE NESCAC CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD
Friday's opening round starts with fourth-seeded Wesleyan (11-3, 5-3 NESCAC) taking on fifth-seeded Bowdoin (13-4, 5-3 NESCAC) for the third consecutive year. The Cardinals are making their third straight NESCAC Championship appearance and fourth overall. Wesleyan finished the regular season winning four out of its last five matches. The Cardinals have wins over Amherst, Bates, Connecticut College, Hamilton and Trinity this season. The Polar Bears, who are seeking their first NESCAC title, won eight of their first nine matches to start the spring and have victories against Bates, Colby, Connecticut College, Trinity and Tufts. Wesleyan and Bowdoin did not play each other during the regular season and have split their two postseason matchups. Last year in the first round, Wesleyan earned a 5-1 win over Bowdoin to advance to the second round for the first time in program history.
The Bowdoin-Wesleyan victor will face No. 1 seed Middlebury (13-3, 8-0 NESCAC) on Saturday. The Panthers are the top seed for the first time since 2007 and enter the NESCAC Tournament riding a 10-match win streak. Middlebury is in pursuit of its first conference title after advancing to the final last season before falling to Williams, 5-0. Middlebury, which went unbeaten in NESCAC play, defeated Wesleyan (6-3) and Bowdoin (8-1) during the regular season.
The Tufts/Amherst winner will battle second-seeded Williams (13-4, 7-1 NESCAC). The Ephs earned a bye into the second round for the 10th straight season. Williams, the two-time defending champions, opened the spring with five wins in its first seven matches. The only blemish on the Ephs' conference schedule was a 6-3 loss at Middlebury on April 8. Williams defeated Tufts, 7-2, last weekend and earned an 8-1 win over Amherst on April 15. The Ephs, who have won seven championships overall, are 2-0 against Tufts in the postseason and last faced the Jumbos in the 2011 semifinals. Williams is 3-7 against Amherst in tournament play. The teams last played each other in the 2015 final, with the Ephs coming away with a 5-2 victory.