Women’s Tennis Returns from Annual California Trip with Surprise Upset Win
Issue   |   Wed, 03/21/2018 - 00:27

Away from the blizzards and sub-freezing temperatures that have tormented the northeast for the past few weeks, the Amherst women’s tennis team kicked off its spring campaign in the California sunshine over spring break.

However, the Mammoths faced an uphill battle in their tour opener against No. 9 Pomona College on Monday, March 12.

The tandem of Avery Wagman ’18 and Anya Ivenitsky ’20 won 8-3 on the first doubles court, while sophomores Maddie Dewire and Camille Smukler won 8-5 at the third spot.

This allowed the Mammoths to head into the singles matches with a 2-1 advantage. Smukler, last year’s northeastern region rookie of year, started the spring campaign where she had left off last year as she edged past Pomona’s Caroline Casper 6-4, 7-6(7-2) on the top court.

Meanwhile, playing on court six, Wagman came back from a first set loss to grab the second set 6-3 and pull through to win a hard fought tie break, 10-8.

However, Amherst couldn’t find a win on any of the four remaining singles courts, allowing Pomona to escape with a 5-4 win.

The experienced Mammoths, however, with no first-years on the trip, quickly brushed off the disappointment of their loss to Pomona and breezed past Trinity Univerity (Texas) 6-1 the following day.

A clinical performance on the doubles courts meant that the Amherst entered the singles matches with a 3-0 lead against the Tigers.

Smukler, Vickie Ip ’18 and Wagman all picked up comfortable straight-set wins on the first, second and fourth courts, respectively, to help Amherst take an unassailable 6-1 lead.

Carrying over momentum from the victory against Trinity, the Mammoths secured their first upset of the season the following day against No. 9 Carnegie Mellon University.

The duo of Wagman and Ivenistsky made light work of Cori Sidell and Courtney Ollis (8-1) while Vickie Ip and junior Kelsey Chen battled to a 9-8 tie-break victory.

Even though the pair of Smukler and Dewire lost on court three, Amherst again entered singles action with a 2-1 edge.

In singles, the Amherst women notched victories on every single court except the fourth, leading to a comprehensive 7-2 rout of the higher-ranked Carnegie Mellon.

After defeating Carnegie Mellon and bringing their record to 2-1 on the year, the Mammoths faced their stiffest test of the trip against No. 3 Claremont Mudd-Scripps.

The sophomores combined to put up a praiseworthy challenge in Amherst’s 6-3 defeat, as Dewire won both of her matches on the third doubles and fourth singles court and Ivenitsky showed tenacity to come out on top against Caroline Cox in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4 on court five.

However the spirited show by the sophomores wasn’t enough to pull off a second upset, and the Mammoths fell to 2-2 on the tour.

On Friday, the Mammoths bounced back from the defeat to end the trip on a high note with a victory over Sewanee: The University of the South.

Continuing the week-long dominance in doubles play, Amherst notched two victories thanks to the duos of Wagman/Ivenitsky and Dewire/Smukler, the latter of which managed an 8-0 sweep.

With the 2-1 lead, the Mammoths were able to withstand agonizingly close matches on courts one and two in singles play, where both Smukler and Ip lost in tie-breaks.

Showing the depth and strength of the roster, the four remaining players at the bottom of the ladder were all able to pick up comfortable wins to guide Amherst to the 6-3 win.

The Mammoths return to action Saturday March 31 against Case Western Reserve University, a match that will be hosted by Swarthmore College at 2 p.m.