Tennis Teams Look to Claim National Crowns
Issue   |   Tue, 03/13/2012 - 22:17

MEN

After capturing the NCAA crown last spring, the men’s tennis team enters the spring season as the No. 1-ranked team in the country, and after an undefeated fall, the Jeffs look ready to defend their title.

The Jeffs began last season by winning their first 17 matches, before falling to the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team while on their spring break trip. Determined to rebound, the Jeffs closed their season with 12 straight wins, including upending the then top-ranked Middlebury Panthers to close out regular season play.

After breezing through the NESCAC tournament to capture the program’s first title since 1992, the Jeffs entered the NCAA tourney with momentum and confidence.

The Jeffs faced Williams in the semifinals and beat their archrivals for the second time in as many tries with a 5-1 win, booking them a ticket in the championship against Emory Univ.

After falling in the finals in 2009 and 2010, the Jeffs would not be denied on their third-straight finals appearance, routing Emory 5-2 to finish off their year 36-1 and with the program’s first-ever national championship.

This fall, the Jeffs enjoyed the same success they achieved last spring, dominating their duel matches and posting successful results in tournament play.

Sophomore Joey Fritz captured the USTA/ITA Regional Championship’s single’s crown at Williams, before the Jeffs slotted three consecutive wins against Johns Hopkins Univ., Carnegie Mellon Univ. and MIT.

The Jeffs graduated five seniors from last year’s championship squad and will rely on junior All-American nominees Luis Rattenhuber, Mark Kahan and Austin Chafetz, along with senior nominee Wes Waterman.

Equally important returners include Andrew Jung ’12, Fritz and Chris Dale ’14, while the addition of first-year Jon Cypers should also boost the squad in doubles play.

The Jeffs travel to California this weekend for the start of their season, where they will play 17 matches in six days, including a rematch with No. 4-ranked Claremont.

After spring break, the team will face Colby on April 14 in their first home match of the season, before traveling to No. 3-ranked Williams in what will probably prove to be their biggest test on the east coast.

If their fall season was any indication, this men’s tennis team looks ready for another stellar effort as it plans to defend and reclaim its crown.

WOMEN

After a heartbreaking 5-4 loss to Williams in the NCAA finals last spring, the women’s tennis team enters the season looking to do what they came so close to accomplishing last year: win the national championship.

After winning their first four matches, the Jeffs fell to Div. II Barry Univ. on March 17. After the loss, Amherst compiled an impressive 11 game win-streak to end the regular season as the top-ranked team in the country. Hoping to capture their eighth-consecutive NESCAC championship, the Jeffs cruised to the finals before being upset by Williams in the finals.

Earning at at-large bid to the NCAA championship, the team’s 17th straight, the Jeffs bounced back from the NESCAC finals loss and rolled into the finals, again meeting old foe Williams, who again got the better of the Jeffs.

The Jeffs opened its fall campaign with a 6-3 loss to Williams, though neither team played with its full squad, and a rematch between the top two teams in the country this spring will certainly be a thriller.

Jordan Brewer ’14 and Laura Danzig ’12 enjoyed a tremendous amount of success this fall as the team’s top doubles tandem, beating the Ephs’ top pair, claiming the ITA Regional doubles championship, the Gail Smith Doubles Tournament and the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Tennis Tournament. Arguably the best doubles tandem in the region, Brewer and Danzig will need to keep their high level of play up for the Jeffs to have a shot at topping Williams this spring.

The Jeffs travel to Los Angeles this weekend where they will face No. 7 Claremont and several other California schools.

The Jeffs will have a shot at revenge on April 1 against Williams, before closing their season out with a trio of home matches against Tufts, Wesleyan and Middlebury.

With only three seniors on the roster, the Lady Jeffs should not only enjoy a successful season this spring, but also in years to come.

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