Despite the absence of Babkes and Rilla, who manned the first and second singles positions, respectively, in the fall, Head Coach Peter Robson and company managed to win three of the team’s first four matches in the spring.
But despite some valiant individual efforts, the team simply could not sustain its original momentum and towards the end of the spring, things finally fell apart for the Jeffs.
Amherst dropped its final five matches of the season and finished in a disappointing ninth place at the NESCAC Championships.
While the Jeffs did graduate four dependable seniors this spring, the nucleus of last year’s team remains largely intact. Once again, Amherst enters the season with plenty of talent on its roster. The question is: will all that talent get out on the courts? If the team can stay healthy and motivated, the Jeffs could be legitimate contenders for NESCAC glory.
In addition to Babkes and Rilla, who are both expected to be back in top form this year, the Jeffs return a solid group of players.
Due to the rash of injuries that beset the team in the spring, Max Rettig ’05 was called upon to assume the first singles slot at the end of the season. Rettig competed well against the tougher competition and will undoubtedly serve the team well regardless of where Robson places him in the lineup this fall.
Fellow juniors Will Abbott and Ethan Davis should also compete for spots in the Amherst lineup.
Andrew Merle ’04 and Jon Godsall ’06 round out the list of returning players expected to contribute to the team this fall.
Juniors Drew Tarlow, Brian Lawrence and Arpan Podduturi will all be studying abroad.
“Though the NESCAC is stacked with highly competitive teams, I’m confident that we can field a line-up that will compete even with the top teams in the conference,” said Rettig.
Williams and Middlebury Colleges have traditionally been Amherst’s fiercest rivals on the tennis courts, and that should hold true this season as well. However, these rivalries will have to hold until the spring, as Amherst’s fall tennis season is much more informal than the one in the spring. The Jeffs are currently slated to open the season on September 18 by hosting Salve Regina University.