Dominant Wins Propel Tennis Teams to 2-0 Weekend

The men’s and women’s tennis teams took on NESCAC foes Trinity and Hamilton this past week, with both teams notching impressive wins over their two opponents. With two wins under their belt, the teams head into their decisive final slate of regular season matches.

Damien Ruparel '22 hits a forehand. The men's and women's tennis teams performed especially well this weekend, beating both Trinity and Hamilton in decisive fashion. Photo courtesy of Clarus Studios.

With the regular season winding down, the men’s and women’s tennis teams took to the courts against NESCAC opponents Trinity and Hamilton in a decisive week of games. Both teams swept the Bantams before routing the Continentals in similar fashion on Senior Day.

Men

The N0. 18 men’s team rolled through the past week of NESCAC competition — their second-to-last of the regular season — in dominant fashion.

On Wednesday, April 20, the men took on the unranked Trinity Bantams on the Mammoths’ home courts.

The festivities began with doubles matches. It was utter dominance for the top two of three spots on the Mammoth’s ladder. Damien Ruparel ’22 and Sujit Chepuri ’25 dropped just one game en route to victory in an eight-game set. Playing at the two spot (one position higher than they typically play), Kobe Ellenbogen ’25 and Micah Elias ’24 eased past a pair of Bantams with an 8-2 victory. Trinity put up more of a fight at the three spot against Shaw Rhinelander ’23 and Zach Ostrow ’23, a pairing who have not seen much action this season. Nevertheless, the juniors did what they had to do, eventually taking the match in a tiebreaker to keep the brooms moving.

In the singles matches, the biggest scares came at the top of the ladder. Ruparel, Amherst’s number-one player, lost his first set 6-4 before capturing a 6-4 set of his own and winning in a third-set tiebreaker. At No. 2, Harris Foulkes ’22 only narrowly won the first set 7-5 before closing out the match with a breezy 6-2 second set.

From there, the Mammoths simply dominated. The remaining four players — Edred Opie ’25, Chepuri, Ellenbogen, and Willie Turchetta ’22 — cleaned up their matches, winning 48 games while losing just eight. Opie and Ellenbogen lost just one game each. Chepuri lost two. In what is sure to be their most comprehensive performance of the season, the Mammoths completed the 9-0 sweep. It was the beginning of a brutal week for the Bantams, who went on to be swept two more times in NESCAC play, also failing to win a single match against both Middlebury and Williams later in the week.

The Mammoths returned to action, again at home, against the Hamilton Continentals on Saturday, April 23. Rolling out the same doubles lineup it used against Trinity, Amherst again swept the first three matches. Chepuri and Ruparel won 8-5, Elias and Ellebogen put the hammer down with a 8-1 victory, and Rhinelander and Ostrow again secured a narrow victory, this time 8-6.

The Mammoths entered the singles matches seeking their second sweep of the week. Things looked good early. Opie got off the court in less than an hour, putting a “double bagel” — 6-0, 6-0 — victory over his opponent. Foulkes followed him a minute later, with an almost equally dominant 6-1, 6-0 victory. Chepuri and Elias also comfortably handled their opponents. Playing at the No. 5 spot, Turchetta suffered a scare in his first set, hanging on to win 7-5, before powering through with a 6-2 second to make it 8-0 Mammoths. But Amherst’s No. 1 player ended up being the sticking point on the day. Ruparel was on the court for more than two hours. He lost his first set 6-4, and though he battled in the second set, he ultimately fell in a tie-breaker. Nevertheless, the Mammoths didn’t have much to complain about, securing the 8-1 win and improving to 9-6 on the season, 5-3 in conference play.

After a solid run of three-straight wins, just two regular-season matches stand between the Mammoths and the postseason. They currently sit at fifth place in the NESCAC standings, with a berth in the eight-team NESCAC playoffs secured. They face Bates on the road on Saturday, April 30, before a trip to Boston to face No. 3 Tufts the following day, May 1.

Women

Coming off an impressive victory over then-No. 4 Emory University, the No. 9 Mammoths returned to the courts at home against the Trinity Bantams on Wednesday, April 20. With momentum behind them, the Mammoths took down the Bantams in style, preventing the Bantams from winning a single match en route to a 9-0 win.

The Mammoths started the day off hot, taking all three doubles matches to take a 3-0 lead. The underclassmen duos of Mia Kintiroglou ’25 and Deliala Friedman ’25, Amy Cui ’25 and Katelyn Hart ’25, and Julia Lendel ’24 and Emily Sivarak ’24 took down their opponents at the one, two, and three spots, respectively. The pairs of Kintiroglou/Freidman and Lendel/Sivarak both notched 8-5 wins, while Cui and Hart rolled to a relatively easy 8-2 victory in the first-to-eight set.

But it was in the singles portion of the match that the Mammoths really displayed their dominance. Lendel (6-1, 6-1), Friedman (6-1, 6-1) and Calista Sha ’23 (6-0, 6-2) all dropped only two games in their matches against the Bantams. And their teammate Kaya Amin ’24 one-upped them in the best possible way, winning every single game en route to a 6-0, 6-0 win. However, even with the team win wrapped up, the Mammoths did not rest on their laurels. At the No. 1 spot, Cui kept the straight-sets win trend going, winning a tight game 6-4, 7-5, and Sivarak gutted out a tough 5-7, 7-6, 1-0 comeback win to seal the sweep.

The team took this energy into their match versus the Continentals on Saturday. Before the match, the Mammoths took some time to honor their seniors — and in their seniors’ honor, they took the match with no doubts, winning 8-1.

Again, the same three pairs from Wednesday’s match swept the doubles matches playing in the same spots along the ladder — winning 8-5 at the one-spot, and 8-1 at both the two- and three-spots — for a 3-0 Amherst lead heading into the singles portion of the match.

And much like the match versus the Bantams, Amherst again routed their opponent in the singles matches. While Lendel lost a thriller at first-singles in a tiebreaker 3-6, 7-6, 10-8, no other Mammoth even dropped a set on the way to a team win. And again, Friedman (6-2, 6-0), Kintiroglou (6-0, 6-0), Amin (6-0, 6-1), and  Sivarak (6-1, 6-1) dropped two games or less across their straight-set wins — Sha also won in straights sets at the number two-spot, although in only slightly less dominating style 6-3, 6-1.

The Mammoths finish their regular season this weekend with three straight road matches. On Friday, April 29, they will travel to take on MIT before bussing to Maine to face Bates on Saturday, April 30, and returning to the Boston area to play Tufts on Sunday, May 1.