Senior captain Max Rettig signaled the resurgence with a dominating 6-2, 6-3 win at No. 5 singles.
Rettig, Babkes, Wan Nearly Save the Day, but 20th-Ranked Jeffs Drop Close One to No. 15 Bowdoin
April 17, 2005
AMHERST, MA - After losing a point with a trio of close-shave losses in doubles play, the resurgent 20th-ranked Amherst College menís tennis team came storming back against visiting 15th-ranked Bowdoin College, claiming a trio of singles wins but falling just short in a heart-wrenching 4-3 loss on Sunday.
Down but not out after a discouraging doubles result, Amherst senior captain Max Rettig (Rockford, IL) set the tone for a ferocious comeback with a workmanlike 6-2, 6-3 dismantling of Bowdoinís John Posey at No. 5 singles. Junior Danny Babkes (Baltimore, MD) followed suit with a straight-set win at No. 2, while tenacious rookie Jeff Wan (Staten Island, NY) gutted out a three-setter against Bowdoin No. 6 Bucky Jencks, and suddenly, the match was all square. That left the fate of the match up to a pair of first-years - Amherstís Mike Mintz (New York, NY) and Bowdoinís Garrett Gates - who were the last two players on the courts and found themselves locked in a gripping three-set war that held all the drama of a Sophoclean play.
Mintz, who pulled out a victory in a similar situation just five days earlier against 21st-ranked Trinity, took the opening set from Gates but lost the second in a tiebreaker and found himself down a break, staring at a pair of match points, in the third. Highlighting a stunning succession of courageous points, Mintz ignited the home crowd into an absolute spectacle of frenzy when he ripped a crosscourt forehand winner off a return of serve and eventually broke back to even the final set at 6-6. The ensuing seven-point tiebreaker was nothing short of spectacular, with Mintz taking an early lead, Gates battling back and Mintz staving off yet another match point. But it wasnít meant to be as a Mintz forehand sailed wide and a relieved Gates collapsed in exhaustion under a pile of celebrating teammates.
The win pushed Bowdoin to 8-4 on the season, and the Polar Bears have now won seven of their last eight. Amherst dropped to 8-5 and returns to action Tuesday at 3 p.m. against visiting Tufts University.
Bowdoin 4 - Amherst 3
1. Mac Burke (Bow.) def. Josh Rilla (6-4, 6-2)
2. Danny Babkes (Amh.) def. Patrick Keneally (7-5, 6-4)
3. Sam Bitetti (Bow.) def. Lenny Lepner (7-6, 2-6, 6-0)
4. Garrett Gates (Bow.) def. Mike Mintz (4-6, 7-6, 7-6 (8-6))
5. Max Rettig (Amh.) def. John Posey (6-2, 6-3)
6. Jeff Wan (Amh.) def. Bucky Jencks (4-6, 6-3, 6-3)
1. Burke/Gates (Bow.) def. Rilla/Babkes (8-6)
2. Jencks/Bitetti (Bow.) def. Lepner/Jeff Lawrence (8-6)
3. Keneally/Barrett Lawson (Bow.) def. Mintz/Jon Godsall (8-5)