Women's tennis serves up banner week

Amherst’s victory in Williamstown extended the Jeffs’ winning streak over the Ephs to four matches-the Jeffs last lost to their hated opponents on Oct. 10, 2003. The Jeffs started this fall’s edition on the right foot, taking all three doubles matches. Sophomore Alicia Menezes and senior tri-captain Kristen Raverta convincingly won first doubles 8-2. Sophomores Jennifer Murphy and Monica Snyder took second doubles in a close 9-7 match, and senior tri-captain Hadley Miller and sophomore Laura Stein also pulled out a close 9-8 win at third doubles.

“I think our confidence and experience allowed us to outplay them, especially in some close doubles matches that really were the key determinants,” added Murphy.

Murphy, Miller and Stein were each defeated in the singles portion to tie the score at 3-3. Raverta, Snyder and Menezes won first, second and third singles, respectively-all in straight sets-in order to clinch a 6-3 win for Amherst, bringing their fall record to 4-0. Williams dropped to 3-1.

Amherst hosted the 22-school New England Championships Friday through Sunday, but rain forced Saturday and Sunday’s matches to indoor courts at nearby Mt. Holyoke and Smith Colleges. The tournament includes three doubles and six singles draws. Points earned in these nine flights are combined to determine an overall team winner.

Jeffs Miller and Tara Shabahang ’09 paired for the first time at third doubles, earning a decisive 8-0 win in the round of 16, but were defeated by a Williams pair in the quarterfinals.

Snyder and Murphy found success together at second doubles. They defeated their Bowdoin College opponents in the quarterfinals with an 8-4 win. The pair then won the semifinals 8-3 and defeated their Eph counterparts 8-5 in the finals to earn the title. “Monica [Snyder] and I really improved in the last few weeks we started playing together, and our win at the number two spot was a nice indicator of how far we have come,” explained Murphy.

Raverta and Menezes were seeded first in the top doubles flight and lived up to expectations. They defeated a pair of Ephs in the semifinals, 8-4, before doing away with MIT’s first doubles team 8-3 in the finals.

The singles flights were similarly successful for Amherst, with all six women making it to at least the semifinals. First-year Anuja Ankola played three solid matches in the sixth flight before being stopped in a semifinals tie-break by first-seeded Elizabeth Stone of Middlebury College. Courtney Bartlett of Williams defeated Snyder in the semifinals of the second singles draw, avenging her dual-match loss. Raverta had quick wins in the first two rounds before finding defeat in the semifinals at the hands of Connecticut College’s Beret Remak.

Miller came back from her doubles defeat to find victory in fifth singles. The finals was a rematch of last week’s titanic struggle against Eph Allie Rottkamp. Miller said that she “played really smart tennis in order to reverse last week’s result” with a 6-4, 6-4 win to take the title.

Murphy was similarly successful at fourth singles, defeating Elizabeth Emery of the strong Middlebury team in a three-set semifinal. She then won the finals in another three-set win, against Kristin Raymond of Bowdoin.

Menezes dominated her first three matches against the third singles players from Springfield and Connecticut Colleges and MIT. She faced Christine D’Elia of Bowdoin in the final, besting the Polar Bear in a 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-1 three-set victory.

“Despite suffering huge losses in our lineups due injuries, everyone stepped up in their respective roles and advanced very far in each of the brackets, leading to our first place finish,” said Murphy.

The injuries allowed two first-years to fill in. “Anuja [Ankola] really stepped up and played some great tennis, and Tara [Shabahang] also showed a lot of heart,” said Miller.

Amherst won the team title with 41 points, followed by Williams with 31 and Middlebury with 26.