Swinging Heavy-Handed
By Amro El-Adle '13, Managing Sports Editor
National championships have eluded both the men’s and women’s tennis teams for another year, after both teams came up just short of their goals last May. The men fell in the championship match of the NCAA’s to Middlebury College and the women’s team faltered in their bout against Emory University in the semifinals, before besting the University of Chicago in the consolation match. With skill, experience and a keen national championship hunger abounding on both rosters, both teams have their sights set on a title.


The graduation of Brittany Berckes ’10, who in addition to playing both No.1 singles and doubles for last year’s team was also named to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America Third-team, is a considerable loss of both skill and leadership, as Berckes also served as the No.1 singles and doubles player in her junior year. She will be supplanted by a platoon of promising and proven players in seniors Clarissa and Laken King, Mimi Bell, Natasha Brown, Danielle Erb, Jennifer Kim and Charlotte Wilinsky. Joining them will be a throng of juniors and sophomores who bring their experiences from last year to the table.

The fall season should provide many opportunities for the development of both individual players and team cohesion, with a bout against Williams College bookended by four tournaments. The season begins on Sept. 17 with the ITA Championships at Babson College.


The men’s team also lost a number of key players to graduation last spring, but the men’s senior players were not as heavily entrenched atop the depth chart, which should make things that much easier for the returning underclassmen standouts. “Each year the team creates a new identity,” said Head Coach Chris Garner, who has taken the Jeffs to the NCAA Championship game in two of his four seasons at the College. “I’m not sure what this season has in store but I’m hopeful the students will continue developing into a competitive team.”

Chief among the crop of rising leaders is Austin Chafetz ’12, who was named the ITA’s Rookie of the Year at the close of his freshman campaign, and also received the ITA’s highest honor for a sophomore player last season. He was joined by Mark Kahan ’13, who made sure that the ITA’s Rookie of the Year came to Amherst again.

The added bonus to a talented roster is the vital ingredient that was missing from last year’s title run — championship experience. “We feel as if we are well-equipped to make another run for a national title this year and are trying to build on the last two seasons,” said Moritz Koenig ’11. “Before our recent success the men’s tennis team had never progressed past the Round of 16 of the NCAA tournament, and this lack of experience became evident in the final moments of the season. In my opinion, our team will feature an impressive incoming class, strong leaders and a competitive unit of returning players who will benefit from their boosted confidence and experience as the season progresses.”

The team will play in only one tournament this fall, the ITA regionals at Williams on Sept. 24, before traveling to Johns Hopkins, Carnegie Mellon and Kenyon to wrap up the fall.

Issue 01, Submitted 2010-09-02 16:55:21