Women's Tennis Splits Weekend Action Versus Little Three Rivals
Issue   |   Wed, 04/20/2016 - 00:24

Fresh off of two straight road victories against conference opponents and a move to No. 5 in the nation, the Amherst women’s tennis team returned home last weekend to face off against Little Three rivals Williams and Wesleyan. Saturday’s action saw Amherst drop a heartbreaking, 6-3 contest against Williams, the second-ranked team in the nation, before rallying back to defeat the No. 8 Cardinals, 6-3, on Sunday.

Amherst entered Saturday’s game against the Ephs looking for revenge for their loss last October, which saw the purple and white suffer a 9-0 shellacking in Williamstown, Massachusetts. However, Williams started strong on the doubles courts, taking each of the top two courts en route to a 2-1 lead.

Amherst’s doubles pairings, which had been the foundation for much of the team’s recent success, had trouble matching up against a William’s side that boasted the reigning national doubles’ champions. The lone bright spot for Amherst in the early action was the play of the third doubles pairing, Rebecca Pol ’16 and Avery Wagman ’18, who dominated their opponents in an 8-2 victory.

Singles action proved to be more successful for the purple and white, who managed to emerge victorious from two of the six matches and force a third set in two others. Vickie Ip ’18 and Jackie Calla ‘17E amassed two victories for Amherst on the second and third courts respectively. Calla’s 7-5, 3-6, 10-5 victory proved especially impressive as it came against Linda Shin of the Ephs, who had made it to the round of 16 in the single’s bracket for last spring’s national tournament.

Likewise, although in defeat, captain Suhasini Ghosh ’16 put up an incredible effort on court one in a match that pitted her against Juli Raventos, a national semifinalist in last year’s singles action. However, Ghosh’s defeat, along with three others in singles actions and the two in doubles play, doomed Amherst to its first defeat since returning from its spring break trip, a month-long span.

Even after such a defeat, Ghosh was full of nothing but positivity.

“Every person fought their hardest, and I am really proud of our team for that,” the senior said. “The loss against Williams is only something that has simply motivated us to keep fighting and improving”.

The purple and white indeed seemed to be motivated after the loss, returning to the courts on Sunday to face Wesleyan with an aura of confidence. Even though Amherst had dug themselves an early hole against Williams in doubles play, the team started much stronger against Wesleyan. Both the second and third courts saw Amherst win by matching score lines of 8-2, with Ip and Kelsey Chen ’19 providing the victory on the second court and Wagman and Pol taking the third for Amherst.
Even on the first court, the pairing of Ghosh and Sarah Monteagudo ’16 pushed the top Wesleyan pairing hard, only losing 8-6.

In singles action, Wesleyan wilted in the hot afternoon sun, and Amherst took four of the six matches on the four lower courts. After the Cardinals’ reigning national singles champion Eudice Chong defeated Ghosh on the first court to even the overall match at 2-2, the action decisively tilted back in Amherst’s favor, with Calla prevailing 6-2, 6-2 on court three and both Chen and Wagman picking up 7-5, 6-4 on the fifth and sixth courts.

However, the most exciting action of the day proved to be on the second and fourth courts when the end result was in little doubt with Ip losing a tight three-set affair and Monteagudo coming back from a first set loss to vanquish her opponent 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in a tense affair.

With the split, the purple and white moved to 10-5 on the season and an impressive 4-1 record in NESCAC action, good enough for third place in the conference trailing only Williams and Middlebury. The team looks to build on the Wesleyan victory in Wednesday’s home meeting with Tufts at 4 p.m., the penultimate match in Amherst’s already successful regular season.