MEDFORD - The Tufts University women's tennis team was selected as the fourth-seed for the upcoming six-team New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship this weekend (May 4-6) at Amherst College.
The Jumbos will play five-seed and host Amherst College (10-8, 4-4 NESCAC) in the opening round on Friday at 9 a.m. Tufts edged Amherst 5-4 during the regular season in a contest that came down to the last match on the court (#2 singles). Jumbo senior tri-captain Lauren Louks won in three sets to clinch the victory for Tufts, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Third-seed Wesleyan (11-2, 7-2) and sixth-seed Bowdoin (9-11 4-4) will play in the other first-round match on Friday. Top seed Williams (16-0, 7-0) and second-seed Middlebury (13-2, 6-1) received first-round byes and will be awaiting Friday's winners in the semi-finals on Saturday. The championship match is set for Sunday. All five matches on the three days of the tournament begin at 9 a.m.
The Jumbos defeated the Mammoths 5-1 in the first round last season to advance to the NESCAC semi-finals for the first time since 2011. Tufts has reached the semis four times overall (2008-11) 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 have never won a conference championship.
Tufts is 11-5 overall and finished 6-3 in their NESCAC matches this spring. They had a 6-3 win over Bowdoin in addition to their victory against conference championship qualifier Amherst. Tufts lost 8-1 to #1 seed Williams and had 6-3 setbacks versus #2 seed Middlebury and #3 seed Wesleyan.
The Jumbo line-up features five players who started matches during last year's conference tournament. Junior Mina Karamercan and senior co-captain Lauren Louks have been mainstays at the top of the Tufts line-up. Juniors Otilia Popa and Tomo Iwasaki as well as sophomore Kat Wiley also played in the post-season last year. Senior Zoe Miller and junior Julia Keller were starters for Tufts during its 2016 post-season.
Amherst and Williams are the only two teams to win NESCAC Women's Tennis titles. The Mammoths have won nine conference crowns and the Ephs have eight.