The men’s and women’s tennis teams sampled some of the toughest competition the NESCAC has to offer this past weekend. Both squads took on the Middlebury Panthers in Ludlow, Mass. on Saturday, April 10, before the No. 9-ranked women’s squad headed out to Williamstown and the No. 18 men returned home for matchups with arch-rival Williams Ephs on Sunday, April 11. The men’s team’s strong start to NESCAC play was interrupted by a pair of losses. The women went one-for-two on the weekend, beating the Ephs 5-4 and narrowly falling to the Panthers by the same margin.
The Mammoths’ matchup with the No. 8 Panthers began with doubles play. Amherst jumped out to a quick 2-1 overall lead on the back of a win at the No. 1 spot by Jackie Buzkin ’22 and Julia Lendel ’24. Mia Kintiroglou ’25 and Deliala Friedman ’25 dominated in the two-spot, winning 8-2. The Mammoths lost much of their steam in the singles matches, though. Friedmann sailed through her matchup, losing just two games across two sets, but the rest of the ladder struggled. Calista Sha ’23 and Buzkin battled back to force third sets in their matches, but neither could secure the victory. The Mammoths lost four of six singles matches, giving the Panthers the narrow 5-4 victory.
The team sought redemption on Sunday, heading to Williamstown for a matchup with the No. 17 Ephs. Again, Amherst excelled in the doubles matches. Friedman and Kintiroglou secured a comfortable 8-4 victory, and Amy Cui ’25 and Anya Ramras ’22 prevailed 8-5. The Mammoths needed to split the singles matches to secure victory, and split them they did. Bukzin won a breezy first set 6-1, but her opponent came back with a 6-4 victory in the second. Not to be deterred, Amherst’s No. 1 player, and the No. 1 Division-III player in the Northeast Region, shut the door with a commanding 6-3 third set. Though the Mammoths stumbled in the second, third, and fourth spots, Friedman and Ramras won at the bottom of the ladder, securing the 5-4 victory.
Middlebury proved a tough test for the Mammoths. Amherst struggled in the doubles portion of the matchup. Damien Ruparel ’22 and Sujit Chepuri ’25 lost 8-6 at the No. 1 spot. Kobe Ellenborgen ’25 and Micah Elias ’23 fell 8-5 at No. 3. Not all was lost — Harris Foulkes ’22 and Edred Opie ’25 won their matchup — but the Mammoths entered the singles matches needing four victories.
The Mammoths’ top player, Ruparel, lost handily, winning just five total games. Foulkes got things back on track, winning the second and third sets 6-2 after dropping the first 3-6. Chepuri fell 6-2, 6-1, meaning the Mammoths needed all three wins from the bottom half of the ladder to carry the match. Opie kept the hope alive with a win at the four spot, but Willie Turchetta’s loss at No. 5 sealed the Mammoths’ fate. They lost 3-6 overall.
The Mammoths returned on Sunday to host the No. 7 Ephs. Amherst again lost two-of-three doubles matches — only Ellenborgen and Elias prevailed. Opie was the sole victor in the singles matches, securing a comprehensive 6-3, 6-1 victory. Among the rest of the team, Ruparel was the only player to win a set.
After the weekend’s actions, the men are 6-6 and the women are 6-5. The women will host No. 4 Emory on Friday, April 15. The men will face Skidmore at home on Saturday, April 16.