NESCAC First Round: No. 4 Tufts 5, No. 5 Amherst 2

NESCAC First Round: No. 4 Tufts 5, No. 5 Amherst 2

Courtesy Tufts Sports Information

AMHERST, Mass. – Kat Wiley was part of a tie-breaker win in doubles and then had another in singles that clinched the match as the Tufts University women's tennis team defeated host Amherst College 5-2 in the first round of the NESCAC Championship Friday.

Tufts is the fourth seed in the tournament while Amherst was seeded fifth. The Jumbos (12-5) move on to play top-seed Williams College in the NESCAC semifinals tomorrow at 9 a.m. The Mammoths (10-9) will await a potential at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament.

Wiley and Zoe Miller won a tie-breaker in third doubles to give Tufts a 2-1 advantage. Amherst's Vickie Ip and Kelsey Chen had put the Mammoths on top 1-0 by defeating Patricia Obeid and Lauren Louks in second doubles 8-2. The Jumbos evened the match in first doubles as Mina Karamercan and Otilia Popa topped Amherst's Avery Wagman and Anya Ivenitsky 8-5. Wiley and Miller posted a 7-4 win in the tie-break to earn their 9-8 victory in the final doubles match to finish.

Into singles, Amherst evened the score at 2-2 as Maddie Dewire took a first-set tie-breaker over Miller on the fifth court and then finished off the victory with a 6-3 score in the second. However, Louks got the Jumbos their first singles win at #3 as she defeated Chen 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 to put Tufts back ahead 3-2. They would not lose the lead from there. Karamercan extended Tufts' advantage to 4-2 with a 6-4, 6-4 win in straight sets over Ip at #2. That put the Jumbos one win away from taking the match.

Facing Amherst's Wagman in sixth singles, Wiley won the first set 6-2 before the Amherst player evened things with a 6-3 second-set win. Wiley led 5-3 in the third set, but Wagman won three in a row to take a 6-5 lead. Wiley battled back to force a tie-breaker and then won that 7-3 to clinch Tufts' victory.

The first and fourth singles matches that were in progress when Wiley clinched the victory for Tufts were suspended with Amherst leading in both. Today's match was played indoors due to early rain.

The Jumbos have now reached the conference semi-finals two years in a row after not advancing from 2012-16. Tufts has reached the semis six times overall (2008-11, 2017-18) since the tournament has been played its current format starting in 2006. When it was a flighted tournament from 2001-05, Tufts was second in 2005, third in 2003 and tied for third in 2002. The Jumbos are competing for their first-ever conference championship.

Third-seed Wesleyan, a 5-2 winner over six-seed Bowdoin in Friday's other first-round match at Amherst, will play second-seed Middlebury in Saturday's other semifinal. Saturday's winners will meet for the conference championship on Sunday at 9 a.m.