AMHERST, Mass. -- Sweeping doubles play, No. 1 nationally ranked Amherst drew closed in on a third consecutive NESCAC title on Saturday, shutting out the Bates men’s tennis team, 5-0, in the semifinals of the conference tournament played on the Lord Jeffs’ home courts.
The Bobcats (10-9) will wait to see whether they receive a berth in the NCAA Regionals, and whether any doubles teams or singles players are chosen for the NCAA individual championships.
Top-seeded Amherst (27-7) will host No. 2 seed Williams in Sunday’s championship match. Amherst has now won 14 consecutive dual matches.
Juniors Joey Fritz and Justin Reindel gave Amherst a fast start at third doubles on Saturday, notching an 8-3 win over Bates senior Dylan Reffe (Washington, D.C.) and junior Peter Yanofsky (Belmont, Mass.). Mark Kahan and Michael Solimano made it 2-0 for Amherst soon after, defeating junior Timmy Berg (Bradenton, Fla.) and sophomore Pierre Planche (Natick, Mass.), 8-5.
Meanwhile, Chris Dale and Andrew Yaraghi received a strong challenge from senior two-time All-Americans Rob Crampton (Wilton, Conn.) and Matt Bettles (Taunton, England), as Bates’ captains grabbed a 3-2 lead early, but the Jeff No. 1s grabbed momentum in the middle games, breaking to go up 5-4 before pulling away for an 8-5 decision and a Jeff sweep of doubles.
The bottom half of the Amherst order iced the win in singles play as Reindel defeated junior Ben Bogard (Lido Beach, N.Y.), 6-0, 6-2, at No. 6. Fife then downed Planche 6-3, 6-1, sending Amherst into the finals with a forehand winner to close out the set.
The top of the order proved tighter, as Kahan beat Bettles in the first set at second singles, 6-3, but trailed in the second, 4-1. Fritz’s fortunes were the opposite in the top slot, having fallen to Crampton 6-3 in the opener but grabbed a 4-1 second-set lead. At No. 3, Yaraghi and and Berg were still locked in a neck-and-neck first set at the match’s conclusion, with the Jeff rookie leading 6-5.