On the Rise
By Matt Fernald '13, Sports Section Editor
This past weekend was wildly successful for both the men and women’s tennis teams. Playing in 36 matches, the Jeffs won all but two singles matches and one doubles match.

Both teams now have a long week to rest before taking on NESCAC foe Middlebury College this Saturday.


On Saturday, the women took on Wesleyan University. Wesleyan has not had the best of seasons by any measure, coming into the match with a meager 2-4 record in NESCAC, as compared with the Jeffs’ 5-1.

That afternoon, the women showed no mercy in dismissing the Wesleyan women 9-0, not dropping a set on the day and improving their record to 13-1 overall and 6-1 in NESCAC.

The doubles teams got the proceedings off on the right foot. The teams of senior Jill Wexler and junior Natasha Brown, junior Carissa King and remarkable rookie Caroline Richman and seasoned senior veterans Jennifer Kim and Jen Ouyang dominated and ran off three quick wins in doubles play, 8-2, 8-2 and 8-0 respectively.

The singles matches passed in much the same way, as the Amherst women were practically untouchable, showing their consistently dominant prowess when facing seemingly weaker opponents; in fact, on average, they lost two games per set. Brown won easily at No. 1, 6-1, 6-2, while junior Laken King reliably won her No. 2 match 6-1, 6-1. Richman played No. 3 and despite having a slightly more difficult match, still managed to take it with relative ease, 6-2, 6-3.

Junior Charlotte Wilinsky was supremely effective in her No. 4 match as she dismissed her opponent, 6-0, 6-0. Ouyang took the match at No. 5 6-4, 6-3 and sophomore Kim Snyder capped the win at No. 6 6-3, 6-3.

The girls were ecstatic after mowing through the matches with such ruthless efficiency and determination.

“It felt great to have such a convincing win over Wesleyan after the tough loss against Williams,” said junior Carlissa King.

“While Middlebury may pose a bigger threat this weekend, we will do all that we can, meaning practice, practice, and more practice, and hopefully our hard work will pay off.”

With the win, the women continue their streak this spring in which all but one of their wins have been by scores of either 8-1 or 9-0. The team’s unprecedented success during the grueling regular season will reap important rewards for the upcoming playoff schedule.

Heading into postseason play, they are all but guaranteed the No. 1 or 2 national Div. III ranking, depending on how the so far excellent Williams’ season ends. Amherst split their two previous meetings with Williams this spring and hopes to avenge their recent loss heading into the postseason.

The team will try and recuperate for a week, reflecting on past challenges, and on Saturday, will hope to overcome new challenges in takinig on nationally-ranked No. 15 Middlebury.


The men kicked off an event-filled spring weekend against 18th-ranked Trinity College. Looking to carry the collective momentum from recent individual and team victories, the Jeffs initially came out flat-footed.

The match did not start exactly as the Jeffs had hoped, as their top doubles pair of sophomore sensations Austin Chafetz and Robby Sorrel fell 8-6 to the Panthers. However, coming through when the team most needed it, the second and third teams pulled off key wins; The veteran-rookie pair of junior Moritz Koenig and freshman Mark Kahan cruised to an 8-1 win, while sophomore Wes Waterman and junior Sean Doerfler scraped out their closely contested match, taking the superset in a tiebreaker, 9-8(5).

This was the last of the adversity that the men would face, however, because, as the day progressed, the team got more confident and resolute in their shotmaking and serving abilities.

In singles, the men swept the Panthers away. Chafetz exacted revenge on the Panthers’ Feldman, who had beaten him in doubles earlier, in a routine 6-4, 6-3 win. Kahan’s match was less routine, as he lost the first set of his singles bout 7-5, but rebounded immediately to take the second and third sets in style, 6-1, 6-1. Koenig was an unstoppable force in his match at No. 3, dominating play throughout in a 6-1, 6-0 win. Junior Priit Gross and Doerfler both won their matches at five and six in decisive straight sets. The last match to finish was Waterman, who played three long sets at the No. 4 slot. In the end, he triumphed in a hard-fought 7-5, 6-7, 10-6 win as the men extended their undefeated streak in the NESCAC.

After this dismantling of a conference foe, Amherst was brimming with confidence going into the weekend, knowing that they were set to face two out-of-conference opponents with potentially threatening squads.

Warming up for the Spring Concert later that night, the Jeffs got up early to play a dual match on Saturday morning, first taking on Skidmore College, followed by Vassar College. As with Trinity, they won by large margins, first beating Skidmore 7-2, followed by annihilating a weak Vassar team, 9-0.

Against Skidmore, the team’s top three doubles teams were again in action, and they were spot-on throughout play, winning 8-2, 8-2 and 8-2.

In singles, the players moved up a few notches to gain positional experience. Gross played in the No. 1 spot, but fell 6-2, 6-3. Senior Alex Kaufman also lost his match at No. 4 6-3, 6-1, but the other four singles matches went Amherst’s way in straight sets. Seniors Dan Gonzalez and Scott London won their matches with ease, while first-year Alex Kim showed his considerable

potential and decisively took the No. 3 match 6-2, 6-2.

Last to finish was senior Dan Kim, who, after winning an easy first set 6-1, needed a tiebreak to close out his opponent, eventually finishing closing that set out in an exciting tiebreaker, 7-6(6).

Immediately following the conclusion of Kim’s match, the men took on Vassar College and demonstrated some of the talent and focus that carried them all the way to the Div. III NCAA finals last year.

The ever-consistent doubles teams were yet again successful, taking the three matches 8-4, 8-5 and 8-3.

The Jeffs then turned around and, with their full varsity crew in action, handed the Brewers six demoralizing singles losses.

The unrelenting lineup of Chafetz, Kahan, Waterman, Gross and Doerfler waxed the Brewers, with each player taking his match in straight sets, and not one of them having to even play a tiebreak set. At No. 3, Koenig worked a little harder than the rest for his win, as he and his opponent split the first two sets, 6-2 and 5-7, but he was able to win the super-tiebreaker that followed, 10-7.

The men now need only to defeat top-ranked Middlebury College on Saturday to claim the No. 1 ranking in the NESCAC and cement their place in Amherst tennis lore.

Heading into the much-anticipated season finale, the players have cool heads and unbending determination.

“The team has gained a lot of confidence and experience from tough matches in the last two seasons,” said Koenig, “and we all feel as if we are on track to peak at the right time.”

It will not be easy by any means, but with big wins posted this season over Williams and Bowdoin and a 23-8 record (compared to Middlebury’s 14-2), the peaking tennis team certainly has an opportunity to pull off the upset.

Issue 24, Submitted 2010-04-28 04:50:45