Men’s Tennis Travels to California
Issue   |   Tue, 03/24/2015 - 23:49

The defending national champion and No. 1 regionally and nationally ranked Amherst men’s tennis team returned to action over spring break, building on the successes of the fall season. As they have done for the last seven years now, the Jeffs traveled west to California for a demanding week that featured 10 matches in just six days. The tremendous depth and size of the team allowed them to play an incredible number of matches while still competing at a very high level. The team stayed in Ontario, California for the entire trip, but traveled within a two-hour radius of the hotel for matches. The Jeffs, who went 36-3 in route to the national championship a year ago, started the spring season with a 7-3 start. This comes after a successful 2-0 fall season that included impressive victories over Johns Hopkins and Carnegie Mellon.

On March 16, half of the Jeffs competed against Westmont College in Santa Barbara, while the other half traveled to San Diego to take on Point Loma. Amherst won both matches decisively, beating Westmont 6-3 and Point Loma 7-2. Against Westmont, Anton Zykov ’17 and Russell Einbinder ’16 combined to win 8-4, while senior co-captain Sean Rodriguez and Jon Cypers ’15 out of Chappaqua, New York also won by the same score in doubles. In the singles competition, Zykov, Rodriguez, Myles Tang ’17 and Carlos de Bracamonte ’16 won in straight sets. While this match was going on, the Jeffs swept Point Loma in singles 6-0 .

The following day, Amherst played its most anticipated match of the trip against No. 9-ranked Pomona-Pitzer. In doubles competition, Michael Solimano and Aaron Revzin outlasted Pomona-Pitzer’s No. 1, team winning 9-7. This back and forth match ended with a game winning shot by Revzin in which he made a full extension, diving volley. Trailing 2-1 headed into singles, the Jeffs were unable to mount a comeback, losing by a score of 6-3 with straight set victories coming from Yaraghi and Solimano. The next day the Jeffs dropped another match to NIAA powerhouse Vanguard, 8-1.

“These were definitely tough defeats for us; we go into each and every match with confidence and an expectation to win,” Revzin said. “However, at this point it’s not about winning and losing; it’s about putting in hard work every day and about thriving on a challenge. We’ll learn and grow from these losses.”

Amherst got back on track with a 9-0 sweep of Chapman. Both the pairs of Solimano and Revzin and Zykov and Arnaboldi won 8-0 at the first and third double spots, respectively.

Rodriguez and Einbinder muscled out an 8-5 victory in the second spot. The dominance continued in singles with Zykov, Solimano, Revzin, Arnaboldi, Einbinder and Rodriguez all winning in straight sets. The Jeffs continued the momentum beating Skidmore College 7-2 behind another doubles sweep. The string of decisive victories was interrupted by a tough 5-4 defeat at the hands of a very strong Azusa Pacific team, who are ranked second in Division II.

Solimano and Revzin picked up another victory in the No. 1 doubles position, while each winning their singles matches. Rodriguez made a great comeback to beat Tomas Aranguiz in three sets at the sixth singles slot displaying great fortitude. While only Division III matches count towards Amherst’s ranking, these matches are valuable opportunities for first year head coach Todd Doebler to challenge his squad.

To close out the trip, the Jeffs rattled off three straight victories, beating Cerritos 6-3, Glendale Community College 9-0 and San Diego Mesa 7-2.

The Jeffs looks to build on their three-match win streak and the positive strides they made in California this weekend. They will continue their tough out of conference schedule with a trip to Harvard on Saturday, March 28 with the opening serve coming at 5 p.m. On Sunday, Amherst will travel to Colby in Maine for its first NESCAC match of the season.