Amherst and cross-town rival UMass began play on Sept. 21, but the match was called due to darkness. On Friday the teams finished what they had begun, and UMass took its season opener, 7-0.
Quad-captain Rachel Holt ’05 and Alicia Menezes ’08, the newly-crowned Omni ITA doubles champions, earned the sole Jeff victory, taking first doubles 8-2. Quad-captain Erin Murphy ’05 had a close three-set loss at sixth singles, 2-6, 6-3, 6-7 (8-7). Kristen Raverta ’06 and Katie Hudson ’07 paired at second doubles for a close loss, 7-9.
“The final team score may not reflect it, but everyone from Amherst played really well, and we played them tough. This match reaffirmed to me how really good the Amherst women’s tennis team is this year. We can play with anyone,” said Raverta.
The long halt in the match may have hurt the Jeffs. “UMass was tough because many of us were in close matches with the momentum in our favor when we had to stop the match due to darkness. When we started again on Friday it was tough to regain that momentum,” said Murphy.
Nevertheless, the inter-division play was beneficial to the team. “It’s always good to play UMass or other Div. I teams; it’s good practice for us,” said Murphy.
The women began their long Sunday in Brunswick, ME, facing Bowdoin in the morning and coming away with an 8-1 victory over the Polar Bears, who fell to 2-2.
Holt took second singles 6-3, 6-3, while Menezes did likewise at number three, 6-2, 6-0. Hudson pulled off a two-set win at fourth singles, 6-0, 7-5, and Murphy had a solid 6-1, 6-1 victory at number six. Raverta needed a third set at number one, but ended victoriously, 6-4, 6-7, 7-5.
In first doubles, Holt and Menezes had an 8-5 win, followed by Raverta and Hudson, 8-1, at second doubles. Murphy and Laura Stein ’08 were able to hold out for a close 9-8 win at third.
The team’s day had not yet ended, however- they had an afternoon match at Colby. The Jeffs posted their second 8-1 win of the day, as the White Mules dropped to 1-2.
Stein came back from her morning loss to grab fifth singles without dropping a single game. Holt, Menezes, Hudson and Murphy also won in straight sets.
In doubles, Holt and Menezes had a rematch against Sara Hughes and Allison Dunn, whom they had defeated 8-3 in the Omni finals. This time it was closer, and required a tiebreaker, but the Jeffs successfully came out on top, 9-8 (2). The second and third doubles teams both won, 8-3.
“Colby was tough for us because there was a threat of darkness; we had to stay disciplined and not rush through points or games,” said Murphy. Both Holt and Menezes finished their singles matches indoors after darkness had fallen.
“The doubleheader went very well overall. Being the team to beat in the league this year means that every team is really gunning for us. We came out strong in both matches in the doubles and really set the tone,” said Holt.
The women host Williams College on Saturday at 11:00 in the final match of the fall season. The Ephs graduated the majority of last year’s lineup, and the Jeffs remain focused on their rival. “We always want to do well against Williams as a measure of our team’s success,” said Raverta.