Tennis Sees Ups and Downs Against Ephs
By Matt Fernald '13, Sports Section Editor
Despite minor disappointments, it turned out to be a fruitful weekend for the tennis teams. Both picked up easy wins over Hamilton College on Saturday and faced Williams College on Sunday. The men ran away with the match in the end, taking the Ephs out 7-2; however, the women suffered their first loss of the season, falling 6-3.


On Saturday, the men had to play indoors because of the weather. But it would do nothing to deter them from playing some brilliant tennis against their NESCAC fellows, as they routed the Continentals 8-1.

The Jeffs swept the three doubles matches with ease, winning them 8-4, 8-3 and 8-3. In singles, Daniel Kim ’10 played a classic, lengthy match that came down to the difference of a few points. After Kim won the first set in a tiebreak, the Continentals’ Drew Libin came back to win the second in another tiebreaker to force a deciding super-tiebreaker. Kim dug deep and held on to eventually win 11-9. In the other singles matches, Priit Gross ’11, Sean Doerfler ’11, Robby Sorrel ’12 and Tony Sheng ’11 each won with relative ease. The only match the Jeffs dropped came at No. 6, as Hamilton’s Pete Erwin beat Sam Sperling ’12 in three sets.

Later that day, against Div. II powerhouse Concordia College, the competition got the better of the men, as they fell 7-2. The doubles team of Austin Chafetz ’12 and Sorrel lost handily to the Concordia team, 8-0, while the second team of Mark Kahan ’13 and Moritz Koenig ’11 lost in a close tiebreak set, 9-8. However, in the third doubles match, the team’s two Kims, Daniel and first-year Alex, pulled off a big win, 8-6. In singles, the Jeffs’ lone win came at No. 3 as Koenig completed a thrilling come-from-behind victory, winning 4-6, 7-5, 11-9.

Sunday in Williamstown was, of course, the highlight of the weekend. The team journeyed out to the far corners of the map to take on the Ephs. Perhaps it was that the Jeffs had just played a Div. II team the day before and were prepared for the day’s match, or maybe it was the fact that Amherst has played 20 more matches than their counterparts this season. At any rate, the Jeffs weren’t troubled much by the Ephs, improving their current winning streak over their rivals to four.

“The showing of support from the whole team and the alums that made the trip up to Williams generated a home court atmosphere that was invaluable,” said Sorrel.

The effect was indeed tangible: the Amherst men settled any uncertainties about their doubles teams early on as the first two matches were finished in a hurry, 8-2 and 8-1. Doerfler and Wes Waterman ’12 lost 8-5 in the third doubles match, but the 2-1 advantage heading into the singles matches was crucial. The singles matches featured a couple of thrillers, as both Chafetz and Koenig both came back from down a set. At number two, Kahan continued his fine play this season, winning 7-6(5), 6-2. Waterman and Doerfler won their singles bouts in straight sets. The lone singles loss for Amherst came as Gross fell to Williams’ Bryan Chow, 7-5, 6-2.

“Playing Williams is always special for us,” said Koenig. “Since we ended our decade-long losing streak in ’08, we got our own little winning streak started and are now 4-0 in the recent matches. However, we all are aware that the opportunity to compete and actually beat Williams is a privilege that not many Amherst tennis players have gotten to enjoy in the past.”

With the win, Amherst has a chance to earn the No. 1 ranking in the NESCAC. Middlebury College is the only team that still ranks above them. The Jeffs face them in Vermont on Saturday, May 1.


The women began their weekend campaign indoors at Hampshire College, where they faced off against Hamilton College. This match, like all the others this season, went very smoothly, as the women had little trouble dismissing the Continentals, 9-0.

To start the day, Caroline Richman ’13 and Jennifer Ouyang ’10 won in the first doubles match, 8-2. Charlotte Wilinsky ’12 and Jennifer Kim ’10 followed suit with an even cleaner performance, winning 8-0. To round things up nicely, first-years Kate Paul and Sarah Nyirjesy won the number three match 8-1.

In singles, the women could do no wrong. Richman played No. 1 singles and came away with a fast win, 6-1, 6-0. Wilinsky played the No. 2 slot and also won in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. Kim Snyder ’12 had to work a little harder, losing the second set 6-3 after winning the first by the same score. She did, however, eventually dig a little deeper and win the third set with ease, 6-0. The other three singles matches were played in pro-set format, with Ouyang, Kim and Paul winning their matches 8-2, 8-0 and 8-0, respectively.

The next day proved to be less of a celebration as the Ephs came to Amherst to take on the undefeated women. The Jeffs played Williams in the fall and won 6-3; this time, they were looking to perhaps improve upon that win. However, it was not to be. The day got off to a rough start, as the women dropped all three doubles matches. The top doubles match went the Ephs’ way easily, 8-1. The other two were much closer, but in the end it was Williams that prevailed, taking each 8-6.

This 3-0 deficit meant that Amherst had to win five of six singles matches to gain a win and protect their unbeaten record. Although Carlissa King ’11 and Jill Wexler ’10 were able to close out their opponents out at numbers three and four, Brittany Berckes ’10 and Laura Danzig ’12 both lost in the top two spots in two heartbreakingly close matches. In the final two matches, Natasha Brown ’11 continued her fine season, defeating Williams’ Nancy Worley, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, while the Jeffs’ Laken King ’11 fell to Caroline Capute, 6-7(7), 6-3, 10-6.

“I think there is a lot of individual talent and depth on our team,” said King, “but to get to the next level and come out on top at NCAAs, we really need to pull together as a team during these next few weeks and raise the level of support and unity; it will make us that much stronger.”

The women were also in action on Tuesday against Tufts University. This match had the team rediscover their winning ways as they defeated the Jumbos, 6-3.

In a complete turnaround from the women’s loss to Williams, the Jeffs’ doubles teams won all three matches with great ease, 8-2, 8-3 and 8-0. In winning the first match, the team of Berckes and Danzig beat the top-ranked doubles team in the Northeast, displaying their astounding improvement this season.

In singles, Berckes fell to Tufts’ Julia Browne, who is also the top-ranked singles player in the Northeast, in straight sets. However, Danzig made short work of her opponent, and Jill Wexler wrapped up her singles match at No. 4 to seal the win. In the end, the Jeffs split the singles matches with the Jumbos, three high-quality three-set matches. Last to finish was King at No. 3, who lost the first set 6-4, but fought back bravely to eventually come away with a well-earned 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 win.

On the whole, it has been a successful series of matches for the women. Williams was a disappointing loss, to be sure, but they can take solace in the competitiveness they displayed on the courts despite conditions that were far from ideal. Trust that they will be back for revenge in the NESCAC championships or perhaps even the national tournament.

Issue 23, Submitted 2010-04-21 03:56:39