It was an action-packed weekend for the men’s tennis team, as it played three matches in a span of 48 hours. In arguably their most important stretch of tennis all season, the Mammoths took on the No. 1 team in the nation, Emory, and highly-ranked Little III rivals Wesleyan and Hamilton. When all was said and done, Amherst had finished strong, winning the last two matches to wind up 2-1 on the weekend.
The Mammoths first match of the weekend was their toughest task of the season, as they were matched up against the No. 1 team in the nation and defending national champions — the Emory Eagles. While Sean Wei ’21 did his job on the top singles court, defeating Jonathan Jemison 6-3, 7-6, there weren’t many other positives to take away from the performance. Amherst was swept in the doubles portion, winning only a total of eight games. As for the rest of the singles, only Jayson Fung ’20 and Jesse Levitin ’19 were able to take a set, as Emory claimed the second through sixth singles spots to secure an 8-1 victory.
Saturday was a new day for the Mammoths, however, and they made the most of it. Traveling to Middletown, Connecticut to take on No. 13 Wesleyan, Amherst got off to a sluggish start, as it lost two of the first three doubles matches. Wei and Fung battled, but lost a tight match to Princeton Carter and Tiago Eusebio, 8-6. Zach Bessette ’19 and Kevin Ma ’21 evened the score with an 8-5 win over Adrian Roji and Win Smith, but Wesleyan answered as Steve Chen and Cam Daniels got the best of juniors Jesse Levitin and Oliver Kendall, 8-4. Losses by Wei and Ma on the top two singles courts meant Amherst was one point from defeat, needing a sweep of the four remaining singles courts. However, the combination of Bessette, Fung, Levitin and Jon Heidenberg ’19 got the job done to wrap up the 5-4 win for the Mammoths.
On Sunday, Amherst took a road trip to Clinton, New York to take on NESCAC rival Hamilton. The Mammoths didn’t want to give the Continentals any hope of winning their first conference match of the season, as the visitors buried the hosts from the start, sweeping the doubles portion thanks to wins by Wei and Fung, Heidenberg and Ma and Kendall and Levitin. The dominance carried over into singles, with Wei, Ma, Levitin, Heidenberg and Kendall all registering victories, with the lone loss coming from Fung in three sets. Thanks to a complete team effort, Amherst was able to pick up the 8-1 win.
With the successful weekend, the Mammoths improved to 11-3 on the year and 4-1 in the NESCAC. Amherst will close out regular season play with two road games this weekend against archrival Williams on Saturday, April 28 and Middlebury on Sunday, April 29. Both contests will get underway at 1 p.m.