HADLEY, Mass. – The No. 6 Amherst women's tennis team clinched the fourth seed and will face off against Tufts University for the fourth consecutive year in their quarterfinals match up of the 2019 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Women's Tennis Championship on Friday afternoon.
The championship will be hosted by Middlebury College for the first time since 2015. The quarterfinals will be held on Friday, May 3rd while the semifinals will commence on Saturday with the championship match slated for Sunday, May 5th.
The six-team championship field is chosen by a tournament selection committee, which seeds the participating teams. The top two seeds receive a first-round bye. Results of each match and updated schedules will be available at the conclusion of each day at NESCAC.com.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
The Mammoths boast an 11-4 overall record and 5-3 in NESCAC action. The Purple & White entered the spring competition after strong performances in tournament action in the fall while also taking down Little Three Rival, Williams, for the first time since 2014. During their Florida stint, the Mammoths opened with a four match win streak before bowing to the number one team in the nation, Emory to conclude their trip.
After returning to the northeast, Amherst secured an 8-1 triumph over Trinity in their conference opener before Bowdoin edged them 5-4. However, they nabbed four straight victories with three of them coming from NESCAC competition before dropping to Wesleyan. The Mammoths split their final two matches of the regular season, downing Tufts on senior day but falling to Middlebury 9-0.
SETTING THE SCENE
The Mammoths are the No. 4 seed for the first time in program history and have participated in every NESCAC Championship. Amherst won its ninth NESCAC title in 2014 and played in the championship match each year between 2006 and 2015. They look to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2016 and enter the tournament having won five of their last seven matches.
Tufts is making its 18th appearance in the NESCAC Championship field and is the No. 5 seed for the first time since 2014. The Jumbos, who have advanced to the NESCAC Semifinals in back-to-back years, are seeking their first trip to the championship match.
Amherst improved to 4-2 against Tufts in the NESCAC Tournament with a 5-2 victory over the Jumbos in the 2018 quarterfinals and defeated the Jumbos, 6-3, this season on April 24.
SCOUTING THE FIELD
Middlebury (15-1) is the top seed for the second time in the last three years and has appeared in every NESCAC Championship. The Panthers have played in the last three championship matches and are in search of their first NESCAC title. The Panthers enter the tournament on a nine-match win streak and are 8-0 versus NESCAC competition this season. They will face the winner of the Amherst/Tufts match. Middlebury swept the Mammoths 9-0 during the final weekend of the regular season and earned a 5-4 victory in the 2016 semifinals in the most recent meeting between the squads in NESCAC postseason play. However, Amherst has won five of the six NESCAC Tournament matches and boasts a 5-1 advantage in the NESCAC postseason series. The Panthers are 2-0 versus Tufts in the NESCAC Championship. The teams last met in the 2014 quarterfinals with the Panthers posting a 5-0 victory. Middlebury defeated the Jumbos earlier this season by a score of 7-2.
Bowdoin (13-4) and Williams (6-9) play in the other quarterfinal match on Friday. The Polar Bears look to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2017 after earning the No. 3 seed for the first time since 2014. Bowdoin has qualified for every NESCAC Tournament and advanced to the semifinals five times in the last seven years, but has never played in a championship match. Bowdoin enters the NESCAC Championship having won four of its last five matches and went 7-2 against NESCAC teams this season.
Williams, the four-time defending NESCAC Champion, is playing in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2007. The Ephs are the No. 6 seed for the first time and look to extend their streak of championship match appearances to 14. Williams owns a 5-0 mark against Bowdoin in the NESCAC Championship series, including a 5-1 win in the 2015 semifinals. The Polar Bears earned a 6-3 win at Williams last Saturday in the regular season finale.
Wesleyan's (13-2) No. 2 seed is the highest seed in program history after posting a school record 13 wins. The Cardinals are making their fifth consecutive appearance in the NESCAC Championship field and are seeking their first trip to the championship match. The Cardinals await the winner of the Bowdoin/Williams quarterfinal match. Williams won the lone NESCAC Championship meeting against Wesleyan, 5-0, in the 2016 semifinals. The Cardinals are 2-2 against Bowdoin in the NESCAC Tournament series after defeating the Polar Bears in the 2018 quarterfinals, 5-2.
2019 NESCAC Women's Tennis Championship
First Round - Friday, May 3
Hosted by Middlebury
No. 5 Tufts vs. No. 4 Amherst - Not before 2 p.m.
No. 6 Williams vs. No. 3 Bowdoin - Not before 4:30 p.m.
Semifinals - Saturday, May 4
Hosted by Middlebury
Winner of No. 4/5 Match vs. No. 1 Middlebury - Not before 2 p.m.
Winner of No. 3/6 Match vs. No. 2 Wesleyan - Not before 4:30 p.m.
Championship - Sunday, May 5
Hosted by Middlebury
Semifinal Winners - 1 p.m.