Women's Tennis Opens Up Fall Season at USTA/ITA Regional Championships
Issue   |   Tue, 09/29/2015 - 22:03
Megan Robertson '15
Vickie Ip '18 performed well in the first tournament of the season, advancing to the quarterfinals in singles play and semifinals in doubles action.

The Amherst women’s tennis team traveled to Middlebury this past weekend for the USTA/ITA regional championships, their first extended tournament of the fall season. With strong showings from both veterans and first-years, the team picked up some big wins over the course of the weekend.

The USTA/ITA regional championships is a unique tournament due to its setup, with single-elimination play in both the singles and doubles brackets. The weekend promised many matchups with key NESCAC rivals, a great early season test for the Jeffs to see their progress after their third-place finish at national’s last spring. The team brought nine of its players to the tournament, a group that showed Amherst’s incredible pool of talent at all grade levels with three seniors, two juniors, one sophomore and three first-years.

“ITA’s is always interesting because you get to play people who play a different line than you,” co-captain Megan Adamo ’17 said. The weekend promised many matchups with key NESCAC rivals, a great early season test for the Jeffs to see their progress after their third-place finish at national’s last spring.

In singles action, Amherst’s No. 1 singles player throughout all of last year, Vickie Ip ’18, continued her successful collegiate campaign by making it all the way to the quarterfinals. She won her first two matches with no game closer than 6-3 before facing host Middlebury’s Catherine Miller. In a sophomore versus first-year matchup, Ip’s experience and talent showed through with a 6-2, 7-6 (4) victory. Her run would end in the quarterfinals though in a meeting with the No. 1 seed in the tournament, Wesleyan’s Eudice Chong, to whom she lost 6-2, 6-2 in Amherst’s matchup with the Cardinals last spring. But Ip closed the gap this time around, making inroads by taking the first set 6-3 before falling 6-2, 6-3.

Quite a few other players picked up wins before exiting singles play. Co-captain Sarah Monteagudo ’16 defeated Bowdoin rookie Madeline Rolph in an exciting three-set match, taking the first set 6-4 and then coming back from a 3-6 set loss to win the third set 10-4.

Adamo also had a lengthy first outing, outdueling Brandeis’ Hailey Cohen for a 2-6, 7-6 (3), 10-4 victory before losing in three sets to Bowdoin’s No. 3 singles player from last season, Tess Trinka. Some of the newest members of the squad followed the veterans’ leads and notched wins of their own, thanks to first-years Joanna Booth and Kelsey Chen, who both picked up their first collegiate wins in decisive first round victories.

In doubles play, the top-seeded pairing of Ip and co-captain Sue Ghosh ’16 beat two main NESCAC rivals with victories over tandems from Bates and Williams on day one. On day two of the tournament, Ip and Ghosh narrowly edged Babson’s top duo in the quarterfinals to set up a matchup against Wesleyan’s No. 1 doubles team, a pair that featured the tournament’s No. 1 singles seed Chong. Though Amherst fell in the semifinals to this Wesleyan duo that would eventually become the tournament champion, Ip and Ghosh reached the semifinals for the second year in a row together at this tournament and will surely be a formidable doubles team to face later this season.

Monteagudo and partner Rebecca Pol ’16 also earned a victory in doubles play, a key 8-5 victory over the rival Williams pair of Maya Hart and Mia Gancayco. This win and the others against the Ephs certainly play into the intrigue of the Amherst-Williams matchup set for Saturday, Oct. 3.

The third Amherst doubles team of Jackie Calla ’17 and Chen cruised through the first two rounds, beating their opponents by scores of 8-1 and 8-0. They finally met their match against a Bowdoin duo in the quarterfinals.

“The team had amazing attitude on the court this weekend,” Ip said. “Everyone fought really hard during their matches and displayed some quality tennis.”

After the succesful weekend of play for the Jeffs, they continue their busy schedule next weekend, when they travel to Williams for a big rivalry matchup. Amherst was just edged by the Ephs 5-4 during the fall season, and then couldn’t quite break the Williams’ streak at the spring national championships. This will be one of the highest-powered matchups in the NESCAC, so look for some excitement to come out of Williamstown this weekend.