-- Preview courtesy of the NESCAC --
HADLEY, Mass. – The No. 12-nationally ranked Wesleyan men's tennis team returns to the conference postseason for the third consecutive year and has secured the No. 5 seed in the 2018 NESCAC Men's Tennis Championships. The tournament will be hosted by Amherst and begins on Friday, May 4 with first-round matches between No. 4 Amherst and No. 5 Wesleyan, as well as No. 6 Bates and No. 3 Middlebury, both at 1 p.m. The winners will advance to the semifinals on Saturday, May 5 and the championship match is set for Sunday, May 6 at 1 p.m.
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No. 4 Amherst (11-5, 4-3 NESCAC) faces No. 5 Wesleyan (8-8, 6-4 NESCAC) in a first round match. The Mammoths earned the No. 4 seed with wins over Wesleyan (5-4) and Bates (5-4) during the regular season. Amherst has won three NESCAC titles, the most recent coming in 2014. The Cardinals are looking for their first NESCAC title in their fourth postseason appearance. This will mark the first meeting between the two teams in NESCAC Championship competition, but the Mammoths earned a 5-4 decision over the Cardinals earlier this season.
No. 1 Bowdoin (17-1, 8-1 NESCAC) will meet the winner of the Amherst/Wesleyan match. The Polar Bears return every player from the squad that won the NESCAC title in 2017. Bowdoin's only setback this season was an 8-1 loss to Middlebury. The Polar Bears have advanced to the championship match four times and won the title in 2017 and 2008. The Polar Bears are 1-3 against Amherst in NESCAC Championship competition, and 1-0 against Wesleyan after a 5-0 win in a NESCAC Semifinal match last year.
No. 3 Middlebury (18-3, 7-1 NESCAC) will meet No. 6 Bates (8-8, 5-4 NESCAC) in the opening round. Middlebury has qualified for the NESCAC Championship every year and has won two of the last three NESCAC titles and owns eight championships overall. The Bobcats are making their eighth appearance in the postseason and look to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2013. The Panthers are 1-0 against the Bobcats in NESCAC Championship play. Middlebury posted a 7-2 victory when the two teams met in March during the regular season.
Williams (13-3, 6-1 NESCAC), the No. 2 seed, will play the winner of the Middlebury/Bates match in the semifinals. Williams has appeared in six championship matches and has won four NESCAC titles, the last in 2013. The Ephs' lone NESCAC loss this season came at the hands of top-seeded Bowdoin, 5-4. The Ephs are 2-5 against Middlebury in NESCAC Championship play, but boast a 2-0 record against Bates.
The format of the NESCAC Men's Tennis Championship changed in the spring of 2006 and features six teams vying for the NESCAC crown. Prior to 2006, the event was set up as an individual flighted tournament that included players from all 11 member institutions. The championship field is now chosen by a tournament selection committee, which seeds the six participating teams, with the top two seeds receiving a first-round bye.
Results of each match and updated schedules will be available at the conclusion of each day at NESCAC.com.