Women’s Tennis Earns Promising Victories at Middlebury Invitational
Issue   |   Tue, 10/13/2015 - 23:51

The Amherst women’s tennis team traveled to Vermont this weekend for the Middlebury Invitational, a tournament that promised strong competition from NESCAC rivals. After a dual match loss to Williams last weekend, the team bounced back in its penultimate tournament of the fall season. Amherst earned a series of convincing victories along with a few narrow losses across singles and doubles action.

The invitational featured competition from the Middlebury hosts as well as Williams and Army West Point. The tournament had an unusual setup, with teams playing in a series of dual matches with either six singles or three doubles matches consisting of each dual match. Additionally, in order to speed up the action of play, there was no advantage scoring, meaning that when a score reached deuce, players only had to win the succeeding point to win the set, rather than having to win by two points through advantage and then game points. The singles matches featured best two-of-three formats with a tiebreaker in the third set, and doubles matches followed a pro-set format in which the winning team would be the first to win eight games with a minimum advantage of two games.

The Jeffs completed a full weekend of play with many strong victories. On Saturday, the team played Army West Point in singles and doubles, Middlebury in doubles and Williams in doubles. Against Army, Amherst took two of the six matchups, with the captain duo of Sarah Monteagudo ’16 and Sue Ghosh ’16 and the pair of Kelsey Chen ’19 and Vickie Ip ’18 winning games of 8-5 and 8-3, respectively. In their singles matchups, the Jeffs were able to evenly split the six singles matches with their Division I foe. Ghosh battled to a tough three-set victory over Army’s Carolyn Pitman 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5), 10-7, before Jackie Calla ’17 and Monteagudo took their matchups in convincing two-set wins.

The team also faced some more familiar competition in matchups with Middlebury and Williams. Amherst came away with two of three victories in its doubles dual match with Middlebury, with Amherst’s lone loss coming in an incredibly tight competition in which Calla and Chen were just edged by their Middlebury opponents 9-8 (2). The Monteagudo/Ghosh and Chen/Ip pairs continued their winning ways in the weekend with convincing 8-5 and 8-0 victories, jumpstarting Amherst’s dominance in their singles dual match against the Panthers on Sunday. The Jeffs took five of six matchups, with four of the five victories taking only two sets. Ip, Chen and Monteagudo won their matchups in resounding fashion, 6-3, 6-3 for Ip; 6-1, 6-1 for Chen and 6-2, 6-2 for Monteagudo.

After their loss to Williams in last weekend’s dual match, the Jeffs were looking to make inroads this tournament against their main rival. They managed to chip away at the Ephs and come away with some stronger performances, a promising signs of close battles to come in the spring season. The team managed to garner a victory in one of the three matchups in doubles play: First-years Camilla Trapness and Joanna Booth were unfazed by the older Williams duo of Alex Stone and Carmen Saab, and they stormed to a strong 8-4 victory. Amherst did even better in singles actions on Sunday, taking three of the six matchups. Williams couldn’t stop Trapness throughout the weekend; even after dropping the first set 5-7, Trapness fought back and dominated the next set 6-0 before taking the tiebreaking third set 10-6. Avery Wagman ’18 and Kelly Yang ’19 won their matchups in only two sets to account for the other victories. In nine matchups against the Ephs, the Jeffs lost just 5-4, significantly closing the gap from their 9-0 defeat last weekend. This score matches the result of the two teams’ fall dual match last season, and may be a sign of tough battles to come.

“We changed up our pairing for doubles and still managed to do well which was great,” Ip said. “Everyone cheered each other on and we had some great wins against Midd and Army with Jackie Calla defeating Christina Puccinelli despite losing against her during the ITA tournament 2 weeks ago.”

After a successful weekend, the team will conclude the fall portion of its year at the three-day NEWITT Tournament hosted by Mt. Holyoke this weekend.