Third-Ranked Men's Tennis Tops Bates, Bowdoin
Issue   |   Wed, 04/16/2014 - 00:56
Niahlah Hope '15
Co-captain Chris Dale ’14 has stepped up in singles this season, playing primarily in the No. 2 spot. The senior won his seventh straight match of the season on Sunday against Bowdoin.

The now third-ranked Amherst men’s tennis team extended its win streak to 12 matches this past weekend with wins over Bates and 12th-ranked Bowdoin. The Jeffs improve to 24-2 on the season and remain unbeaten in the NESCAC.

On Saturday, Amherst blanked previously 27th-ranked Bates on the Bobcats’ home courts. Senior co-captains Joey Fritz and Justin Reindel won their seventh straight match as a pair, defeating Timmy Berg and Pierre Planchein in the top doubles spot 8-5. Sophomores Andrew Yaraghi and Aaron Revzin won their doubles match in the No. 2 spot 8-3, while Michael Solimano ’16 and Chris Dale ’14 earned a victory by the same score in the third spot.

In the top singles spot, 14th-ranked nationally in singles Fritz lost the first set 7-5 to Berg before bouncing back to win the second set 6-2 and the third set tiebreaker 10-7.

“Joey as well as the rest of the senior players, who were finishing up their thesis work, had a very stressful and demanding week,” said head coach Chris Garner on their performances against Bates. “I overheard some of them talking about the pep talk they received from Professor Reyes about making sure they come to practice in order to have a physical activity outlet. Having the support of Professor Reyes really helped them on their thesis work as well as getting them to practice hard.”

Dale, who is ranked sixth in the Northeast among all Div. III singles players, also dropped his first set in the No. 2 singles spot 6-3, but the senior prevailed in a second set 7-6 and then went on to capture the third set tiebreaker 10-5.

“Chris just got a new pair of shoes for the weekend, but I think he wore a hole in them because he was running down so many great shots by his opponent,” Garner said regarding Dale’s win.

The bottom of the ladder all won their matches in straight sets, as Solimano (6-3, 6-4), Anton Zykov ’17 (7-5, 6-0), Yaraghi (6-1, 6-3) and Revzin (6-4, 6-3) defeated their Bobcat opponents. The 9-0 victory marked the team's 12th sweep of the year.

On Sunday, the Jeffs traveled to Brunswick to face off against NESCAC foe Bowdoin, where they snapped the Polar Bears’ six-match winning streak with a 7-2 win. Amherst jumped out to another 3-0 lead after doubles, as Solimano and Revzin were victorious in the No. 2 spot 8-5, and Zykov and Yaraghi cruised to an 8-2 win in the third spot. In the No. 1 spot, Bowdoin’s Sam King and Kyle Wolstencroft challenged Fritz and Reindel, and the two teams battled to eight apiece in the pro-set. Fritz and Reindel then won the tiebreaker 7-3 to triumph with a 9-8 victory.

“Justin and I are really happy with how we’ve competed, but hopefully we’ll be able to keep it up as the matches get more important,” Fritz remarked on the pair’s success this spring. The senior duo is ranked first in the Northeast among all Div. III doubles pairs.

Reindel had a challenging singles match in the No. 5 spot, where he was forced to go the distance in three sets against Wolstencroft. After losing the first set 6-1, the senior evened the score by winning the second set 7-5. However, he could not top his Polar Bear opponent in the end, losing a hotly contest third set 7-6.

In the sixth spot, Bowdoin picked its only other victory, as Revzin lost 6-4, 6-4. The top of the ladder, however, all were able to edge their Bowdoin opponents in a series of very competitive matches.

Fritz’s match in the top singles spot needed three sets to decide the winner. After losing the first set 6-7, the senior responded with by winning the following two sets 6-2, 6-4 to win the match.

“When I lose the first set, I’m usually pretty mad at myself, so I just try to make sure that the anger turns into energy and motivation rather than something negative," said Fritz, whose performances this past weekend earned him NESCAC Men's Tennis Player of the Week Honors.

Zykov also had to bounce back after losing the first set, as he went on to win his match 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.

“Anton was having a great time during the match. He is a very calm person off the court but on it, he really comes out of his shell and enjoys himself,” Garner commented on the first-year’s win.

In the No. 2 spot, Solimano split the first two sets, 6-4, 5-7, before winning the third set tiebreaker 10-6 to notch the victory.

“It was a high quality match. I thought both players were playing well. It could have gone either way,” Garner said.

Yaraghi, the only Jeff to win his match in straight sets, rolled to a 6-1, 6-1 victory in the fourth singles spot to cap off Amherst’s 24th win on the year.

Up next for the Jeffs is a weekend full of NESCAC matches, starting on Friday when the team will split squads to play Conn. College at home at 3 p.m. and now 27th-ranked Trinity in Hartford, Conn. at 3 p.m. as well. On Saturday, the team will host both Hamilton and 29th-ranked Wesleyan at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.

“We have a really exciting weekend of tennis ahead of us. We play five conference matches. As long as the guys stay on top of their studies this week, they should be ready to get on the courts for some physical activity and competition,” Garner said.

Sunday marks one of the biggest matches of the season for Amherst, as they square off against archrival fifth-ranked and reigning national champions Williams in Williamstown at 1 p.m.

“I’m excited, though I don’t know too much about the match-ups. Williams versus Amherst is always competitive, and nothing in the past matters. We just want to go out there and play our hardest,” Revzin commented on the upcoming match.