CLAREMONT, Calif. – Amherst continued its record-breaking season with a 5-0 win against Trinity (Texas) on Tuesday evening in the NCAA Division III Championship quarterfinals. The Lord Jeffs now have the opportunity to advance to their third consecutive national title match but must first take on rival Williams on Wednesday afternoon in the semifinal round.
Second-ranked Amherst improved to 34-1 on the season and increased its winning streak to 17 matches, while the 11th-ranked Tigers close out the year at 16-13. Tuesday marked the second time the Jeffs had defeated Trinity this season, after earning a 7-2 win back in March on Claremont’s home court.
The semifinal matchup will march the third meeting between Amherst and Williams this season. The Lord Jeffs had to battle back for a 5-4 win against the Ephs during the regular season, while the NESCAC final resulted in a comfortable 5-0 win for Amherst. Williams had its back to the wall against the heavily favored Stags on Tuesday but was able to pull off an incredible comeback.
The Lord Jeffs entered Tuesday’s match with a 12-0 record in doubles play this postseason, but Trinity took charge in all three matches for some early momentum. Amherst’s Mark Kahan and Chris Dale didn’t take a lead until 5-4 at No. 3, but they went into cruise control from there and closed out an 8-4 win. Similarly, Moritz Koenig and Wes Waterman didn’t go ahead until 4-3 but they were able to pull out an 8-4 victory at No. 2.
The top doubles bout featured a great matchup with Amherst’s Austin Chafetz and Luis Rattenhuber riding a five-match win streak to counter the eight-match streak of Trinity’s Bobby Cocanougher and Cory Kowal. With the score tied at 6-6, Amherst took the next point only to have Trinity battle back to knot things at 7-7. After the Jeffs held serve, they managed to complete the doubles sweep by breaking the Tigers in front of an amped up crowd.
Kahan gave Amherst a 4-0 lead when he bumped his winning streak to 16 matches with a 6-4, 6-0 win against Cocanougher—the SCAC Player of the Year—at No. 2. Joey Fritz then completed the Lord Jeffs’ shutout by defeating Kowal at No. 4 6-2, 6-4.
In each of Amherst’s past five matches during the postseason, the opposition has failed to record a single point.
Rattenhuber and Max Frey were tied at 6-6 in the first set at No. 1 when play was stopped. Chafetz dropped his first set to Erick DelaFuente at No. 3, but the Amherst junior was leading in the second frame 5-1. Waterman held a 4-2 advantage in the second set after dropping his first to Greg Haugen at No. 5, while Amherst’s Andrew Jung was in control against Ben Carroll at the sixth slot, 6-2, 3-1.