After suffering a heart breaking 4-3 defeat to Division I member Harvard, the Amherst men’s tennis team rebounded well, claiming a 5-4 victory over 19th-ranked Tufts to open NESCAC play on Saturday.
The No. 14 Mammoths roared out of the gates, dominating the hometown Jumbos on the first and third doubles courts. The number one pairing of Jayson Fung ’20 and Zach Bessette ’19 comfortably took care of their Tufts opponents, notching an 8-3 victory, a scoreline matched by the first-year duo of Josh Marchalik and Nathan Kaplan on court three.
Even the second doubles team, Oscar Burney ’20 and Anton Zykov ’17, put forth an admirable effort, only falling to their Jumbos counterparts by an 8-6 margin.
With the two wins in doubles play, the Mammoths entered the singles portion of the action knowing that a split of the three courts would be enough for a win.
Worryingly for Amherst, Tufts almost immediately retook the lead, with a pair of easy two-set victories on courts two and three giving the Jumbos a 3-2 overall lead.
Thankfully for the Mammoths, Bessette posted a hard-fought win on the first singles court, needing a tie-breaker in the second set to post Amherst’s lone two-set victory in singles action, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2).
With Bessette’s win knotting the match at three points apiece, the result depending upon the three lower courts. With each court requiring a third set to decide the result, the first-year trio of Fung, Gabe Owens and Burney attempted to clinch a win for the Mammoths.
Burney was the lone member of the trio to actually win the first set of his matchup, with both Fung and Owens going down one set to none. However, Fung on court four and Owens on court five rebounded to finish off their Tufts opponents in dominant fashion, posting 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 and 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 wins to clinch the victory for Amherst.
Meanwhile, Burney managed to push the Jumbos’ Kevin Kelly in each of the second an third sets but ultimately fell, leaving the overall scoreline to read Amherst 5, Tufts 4.
With the win, the Mammoths move to 12-2 on the season and 1-0 in conference, with the team’s only two losses coming to Harvard and No. 1 Emory.
Amherst will attempt to build on the win over Tufts when the team plays Bowdoin on Saturday, April 8 at 1 p.m. in what will be the team’s home opener.