Men’s Tennis Win Streak Reaches Nine Games After Perfect 4-0 Weekend
Issue   |   Tue, 04/25/2017 - 22:15
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Andrew Arnaboldi ‘17 went 2-0 in doubles play this weekend, posting wins over Wesleyan and Skidmore on the third court with partner Nathan Kaplan ‘20.

With an impressive showing of four wins in four contests this past weekend, the Amherst men’s tennis team now boasts a dominant nine-game winning streak. The Mammoths first swept aside Wheaton before eking out a hard-fought win over Wesleyan in a Saturday doubleheader. On Sunday, Amherst notched another double-header sweep, this time against Hamilton and Skidmore.

Against Wheaton, Mammonths coach Todd Doebler chose to send out members of the team who had received less playing time this season, opting to use his top competitors for the later match against Wesleyan. Wheaton proved no match for the Amherst firepower.

Doubles action proved a sign of things to come, with each Amherst duo winning and allowing Wheaton to win only five games across the three courts combined. Indeed, the closest Wheaton came in any match was on the first court, where the Amherst pairing of Chris Paridis ’20 and Justin Sun ’19 still came out ahead with a comfortable 8-3 win. On the remaining two courts, Amherst posted matching 8-1 victories courtesy of Cameron Raglin ’19 and Sam Silver ’17 on court two and Oliver Kendall ’19 and Ben Birkenfeld ’18 on the third court.

Singles action held much of the same in store for the Mammoths, who failed to lose a single set. With a highlight of three 6-0, 6-0 victories from Silver, Raglin and Birkenfeld on courts three through five, respectively, Amherst thoroughly outclassed their in-state opponents.

However, Saturday’s second match against the Cardinals proved to be a much tougher affair, with Mammoths edging their Little III rivals by the slimmest of margins, 5-4.

The war of attrition began on the doubles courts, which saw the Mammoths face a significantly stiffer test than that which Wheaton had provided. The pairing of Andrew Arndaboldi ’17 and Nathan Kaplan ’20 opened the scoring on the afternoon, picking up an 8-4 win on the third court in what proved to be the most comfortable Amherst win on the afternoon.
Wesleyan, however, quickly evened the overall match, besting the Amherst first-year duo of Oscar Burney and Josh Marchalik 8-6. The last match, between Zach Bessette ’19/Jasyon Fung ’20 and the Cardinals’ Michael Liu/Jake Roberts, proved to be the defining battle of the contest, with the Amherst pair needing a tie-break to emerge with the slender 9-8 (8-6) win.

The one-point advantage the Mammoths had garnered in doubles play was essential, as the two NESCAC foes split the singles courts, each team taking three victories. With only two matches taking the minimum two sets, the teams engaged in a series of bruising three-set battles.

Although Amherst fell on the first three courts, with Marchalik losing in two sets and Bessette and Fung downed in three, Amherst’s lower players proved up to the task. On court four, Gabe Owens ’20 picked up Amherst’s sole two-set win, besting Wesleyan’s Joachim Samson 6-3, 7-5. Conditions seemed dire for the Mammoths on the bottom two courts, where Jesse Levitin ’19 and Kaplan each fell in the first set. However, both managed to recover to win the final two sets, clinching the Amherst win in the process.

Sunday opened with another match in conference play, this time against the Continentals, whose NESCAC record stood at a paltry 0-5 entering the contest. The Mammoths’ superiority was on full display as essentially the same group that had bested Wheaton on Saturday prevailed over Hamilton 7-2.

Again, Amherst dominated doubles play, sweeping all three courts for the early 3-0 advantage. With Jon Heidenberg ’19 taking Paridis’ place as Sun’s partner on the first court, the pairing didn’t miss a step, winning 8-1, while Silver/Raglin and Kendall/Birkenfeld notched 8-3 and 8-2 victories, respectively.

Singles play proved more of a challenge for the Mammoths, however, with the Continentals managing to pick up a point on both the first and sixth courts, where Arnaboldi and Kendall fell. However, Amherst managed comfortable two-set victories on the four remaining courts to seal the win and improve to 5-1 in conference play.

The Mammoths closed out their perfect weekend with another close win, this time besting out-of-conference foe Skidmore 6-3. For the 11th consecutive match Amherst emerged from doubles play with the advantage, after Bessette/Fung on the first court and Arnaboldi/Kaplan on court three squeaked by with 9-7 and 8-6 victories. The Mammoths came close to taking the second court and, with it, the 3-0 sweep in doubles action, but the pair of Burney and Marchalik lost a 9-8 (7-4) heart-breaker.

Amherst, needing only three victories in singles play to clinch the victory, took the bottom four courts in quick succession, with Owens, Fung, Levitin and Kaplan all besting their Thoroughbred opponents. The Mammoths came close to notching a fifth singles victory on court two, but Marchalik lost the last two sets of the match after taking a one-set lead.

With the four wins, Amherst’s win streak now stands at nine game and the Mammoths boast an overall record of 21-3. Amherst will close out regular season play this weekend with home dates against Williams on Saturday, April 29 at 1 p.m. and Middlebury on Sunday, April 30 at 1 p.m.