CLAREMONT, Calif. -- Second-ranked Amherst is headed to the NCAA championship match for the sixth time in program history after narrowly edging archrival and third-ranked Williams 5-4.
Tuesday’s meeting marked the fourth between the NESCAC rivals this season. After falling to Williams 6-3 in the opening dual match of the 2013-14 season during the fall, Amherst responded with three consecutive wins including a 5-1 decision in the NESCAC championship. The Jeffs have evened the all-time series against the Ephs (3-3) and will play No. 1 Emory at 6 p.m. ET Wednesday for a chance at the team’s second national title and first since 1999. Amherst met Emory earlier this season and dropped an 8-1 match on Apr. 12. The two squads have faced each other deep in the NCAA tournament in each of the previous four seasons, with the Eagles holding a 3-1 lead.
In doubles action, Safi Aly and Sarah Monteagudo gave the Jeffs a 1-0 lead following an 8-4 win from the No. 3 court. The senior duo of Jen Newman and Zoe Pangalos then defeated Kathleen Elkins and Maria Pylpiv 8-3 from the No. 2 court before the two-time national doubles pairing of Jordan Brewer and Gabby Devlin completed the sweep with an 8-5 win from the No. 1 court to give Amherst a decisive 3-0 lead.
However, Williams would retaliate in singles play, claiming four consecutive courts to take a 4-3 lead. Rebecca Curran won No. 5 singles by scores of 6-3, 6-0 for the Ephs first point. Pylpiv cut the deficit to one by defeating Sue Ghosh on the No. 4 court, edging her 7-5 in set one before claiming the match with a 6-1 win in the second frame. In No. 3 singles, Elkins claimed a point over Newman with wins of 6-2 and 6-4, respectively to tie it at 3-3 before Kara Shoemaker narrowly edged Brewer by taking the first set 6-4 followed by a 7-6 win in set two.
Trailing by one with two singles matches remaining, Monteagudo pulled off an imperative win from the No. 6 court. After taking the first set in a tiebreak, 7-6 (7-5), she claimed a 6-4 victory in the second set to tie the match at 4-4. Devlin was terrific in No. 2 singles with the match on the line. After falling to Shin in the first set 6-7 (7-5) she claimed set two (6-3) to force a decisive third set. Devlin and Shin forced a tiebreaker, in which the Amherst senior triumphed with a 9-7 win to clinch the match for the Jeffs.