The Amherst women’s tennis team concluded the fall portion of its 2015-16 campaign this week at the NEWITT Invitational, hosted by Smith College. The Jeffs will head into winter training with confidence after successful results from many of their doubles teams this weekend.
Amherst’s series of matches with unique formats continued this weekend, with the NEWITT Invitational only featuring doubles action. This allowed for further experimentation with doubles pairings of team members who usually play doubles, but also provided the opportunity for Jeffs who normally just play singles to try their hand in the very different doubles setup.
The invitational featured lots of competition from key NESCAC and other non-conference rivals, which promised lots of tough matchups. Every doubles team came away with at least one win in the tournament, with some teams advancing extremely far in the bracket.
Three of the nine doubles pairs were seeded in the top eight, including teams of Maddy Sung ’16 and Jackie Calla ’17 (fifth), Vickie Ip ’18 and Kelsey Chen ’19 (sixth) and captains Sarah Monteagudo ’16 and Sue Ghosh ’16 (eighth).
The tournament started off with seven of the nine pairs advancing out of their first matchup, by way of a victory or a first-round bye.
The seven winning teams all moved into the East part of the bracket at this point to accompany the pairs that had also won their first round matchups.
The Ip/Chen pair team highlighted the weekend with a second-place finish in the East draw. After a first-round bye, the pair won their next matchups 8-1 and 8-4 against two Brandeis teams to set up a high-powered matchup with Williams’ Mia Gancayco and Maya Hart. Ip and Chen were able to just edge their Williams rivals in an incredibly tight 9-8 (2) battle, before moving on to another Williams pair and putting that game away 8-3. However, the third time wasn’t the charm for Ip/Chen, as their final game in the draw pitted them against a third Williams team — this time the pair of Juli Raventos and Linda Shin, who were ranked No. 1 in the nation in last year’s ITA polls. Ip and Chen came close to beating the duo, 8-5, but they would match their other teammates’ results in their inability to beat the Williams tandem.
The pair of Sung and Calla finished a very solid fourth in the East draw, posting strong victories of 8-2 over a Williams pair, an 8-0 victory against Brandeis, and an 8-6 defeat of MIT.
However, they would meet their match, against the Raventos/Shin team, losing 8-4 to set up another matchup with a Williams team in the third-place game. They would ultimately fall 8-2, but it was a success for Amherst to finish with two of the top four teams in the tournament.
The Monteagudo/Ghosh team cruised to 8-0 and 8-4 victories before notching a key victory over a Williams duo 9-8 (4).
They also wouldn’t be able to upset Raventos and Shin, falling 9-4 in the quarterfinals of the draw.
Jane Fraley ’19 and Kelly Yang ’19, after winning their first match 8-0 and then dropping their second, stayed focused and cruised in their next three matchups 8-5, 8-2, and 8-4, before falling to a Trinity duo.
Jenna Peng ’18 and Lola Fadulu ’17, after just getting edged in their first-round matchup, bounced right back to notch a win in their second match.
Perhaps the biggest bounce-back came from the team of Adrienne Irmer ’18 and Sofia Aisiks ’19. After dropping their first game 8-4, they cruised to the finals of the West draw. They picked up convincing wins of 8-3 and 8-1 in the next two rounds, before advancing past an MIT team by default and beating a Trinity duo 8-6. The pair wasn’t able to edge the Simmons team they faced in the final, but still came away with some impressive victories on the weekend.
After a successful tournament in which the Jeffs experimented with new doubles matchups, the team now takes a break before training throughout the winter to prepare for the bigger spring season.