MEDFORD, Mass. - Williams College senior Noah Reich won the fifth singles match in three sets to lift the his team to a dramatic 5-4 victory over Tufts University in the NESCAC Men's Tennis Championship Match on Sunday.
The only match still in play, Reich and Tufts junior Jack Moldenhauer battled through a decisive third set won by the Reich, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 to give Williams its 16th conference title.
For 2021, eight conference teams have competed in men's tennis. In lieu of the typical six-team championship tournament, division winners Williams and Tufts went head-to-head for the title in one match on Sunday. Williams (6-1) won the conference crown for the first time since 2013. Tufts (4-2) was appearing in the NESCAC final for the first time since the format changed to the six-team tournament in 2006.
Upset-minded Tufts, ranked 18th nationally compared to Williams' 10th, knocked Williams back on its feet by winning doubles and taking a 2-1 lead in the team score.
Williams gained momentum with the first two victories in singles. Arturo Kam at No. 1 (6-1, 6-4) and Cohen at No. 4 (6-3, 6-1) pushed Williams to a 3-2 advantage. Jumbo senior Owen Bartok was finishing off a 6-4, 6-2 victory in the sixth match though, so the team score was soon tied at 3-3 with three matches remaining.
Jumbo junior Isaac Gorelik authored an outstanding first-set tie-break win over Williams senior Austin Barr in second singles, and then steamrolled through the second set for a 7-6 (7), 6-1 win over his previously unbeaten opponent. Along with Calvin Chung's 7-5, 6-4 victory for Williams against Jumbo Paris Pentousis at No. 3, that brought the team score to 4-4, leaving it up to Reich and Moldenhauer.
The Jumbo player pulled away to win the first set, 6-3, and then Reich did the same thing in the second at 6-2 to even the match. In the third set, Moldenhauer had an early lead before Reich finished strong to clinch the win and the championship for his team.
With the conference title Williams earns NESCAC's automatic berth into the NCAA Championship. Tufts will hope for an at-large bid when the 2021 tournament field is announced on Monday.
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