Instant Classic as Women’s Tennis Edges Amherst in NESCAC Semifinal

ROCKY HILL, Conn. – In an epic match between Little Three rivals, the # 1 seed and No. 3 nationally ranked Wesleyan women’s tennis team overcame a 4-3 deficit to score a 5-4 come-from-behind win over fourth-seeded and No. 9th ranked Amherst during NESCAC semifinal play on Saturday, playing indoors at the Tennis & Fitness Center of Rocky Hill. The Cardinals will go for a third straight NESCAC title in the championship match tomorrow against Middlebury at 1 PM. Middlebury defeated third-seeded Tufts, 5-4, to advance to the title match.

Doubles play was back-and-forth throughout and incredibly, all three matches needed a tiebreak to decide a winner. Wesleyan fought back after Amherst broke the Cardinals’ serve on all three doubles courts early on in the match. The Cardinals managed to pull out a win at # 3 as Kristina Yu ’22 and Renna Mohsen-Breen ’25 defeated Calista Sha and Julia Lendel 8-7 (7-3) to put Wesleyan on the board and remain undefeated as a doubles team.

Kristina Yu
Kristina Yu ’22 (left) walks to the net with doubles partner Renna Mohsen-Breen ’25 following a # 3 doubles tiebreak victory

A huge turning point in the match came at # 1 as Caitlyn Ferrante ’23 and Sasha Gaeth ’23 worked their way back from a 7-4 deficit, sending their match against Deliala Friedman and Mia Kintiroglou into a tiebreak. In the tiebreak, Ferrante and Gaeth had three match points staved off by Friedman / Kintiroglou before the Mammoths’ duo had a match point of their own at 7-6. Ferrante and Gaeth, however, stormed back with three consecutive points to take the match 8-7 (9-7) and secure Wesleyan a lead heading into singles play.

Sasha Gaeth
Sasha Gaeth ’23 (left) celebrates a huge come-from-behind win at # 1 doubles

Sophie Henderson ’22 and Nika Vesely ’25 gave it their all at # 2, working their way back from down a break, going up 7-6 serving for the match. Amherst, however, showed true fight as Amy Cui and Anya Ramras broke back and performed well in the tiebreak to give the Mammoths an 8-7 (7-3) win heading into singles.

With # 3, # 5 and # 6 singles matches underway, Yu pushed the Cardinals further ahead as she defeated Kintiroglou 6-3, 6-4 to give Wesleyan a 3-1 advantage. The Mammoths continued to hang in as wins came on # 5 from Ramras over Serim Jin ’23 7-5, 6-3 followed by Friedman at # 3 who defeated Katie Fleischman ’23 in a three-set 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 decision to knot the team score at 3-3.

The three remaining singles matches took the courts and Amherst came up with a third straight singles victory as Cui overcame a first set defeat to score a 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 win over Ferrante at # 1, moving Amherst just one point away from clinching the match.

Needing wins in both remaining singles matches, the Cardinals didn’t feel the pressure as Vesely tallied her second win of the day, defeating Lendel 6-3, 6-3 at # 2 to tie the score at 4 apiece. Shifting all focus to # 4, Venia Yeung ’22 was up against Cha and leaning on her experience, Yeung proved up to the challenge as she earned a 6-3, 6-2 clinching point victory to seal the match for Wesleyan.

The Cardinals now head into their third straight NESCAC title match, looking for a three-peat on Sunday afternoon playing at home. Wesleyan defeated Middlebury 7-2 at home in the regular season back on April 2 and look for a similar performance on Sunday.

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