The Amherst women’s tennis squad hopes to improve upon last season’s showing despite the departure of a pair of celebrated seniors. The Mammoths had an exceptionally strong spring season, finishing with an overall record of 12-10 and securing an NCAA Division III tournament quarterfinal appearance. Notable victories during the spring season included wins over the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, North Carolina Wesleyan College and the University of Mary Washington, but Amherst fell to arch rivals Williams at the NCAA Division III Championships in a hard-fought 5-1 loss.
The Mammoths will certainly miss Vickie Ip ’18 and Avery Wagman ’18, whose contributions to the team in both singles and doubles over their four years in the Pioneer Valley were crucial. Ip played regularly on the second doubles court alongside Kelsey Chen ’19 and was impressive in the second spot on the Mammoths’ singles ladder.
Wagman, although often playing fifth on the singles ladder, dominated in doubles alongside partner Anya Ivenitsky ’20. The pair reached the semifinals of the NCAA Division III Doubles Tournament, a result that earned the duo All-American plaudits.
Though the losses of Wagman and Ip will hurt, if any coach has the experience to be able to emerge stronger and make up for these departures, it would be Amherst head coach Jackie Bagwell, who will embark upon her 28th season in charge of the Mammoths. Bagwell’s 1999 squad won the first national championship in any sport for Amherst. For her remarkable coaching career, Bagwell will be inducted into the Howard County Sports Hall of Fame in her childhood home of Indiana after the short season ends this fall.
A key part of Bagwell’s ability to improve upon last season is the fact that Amherst will retain an excellent squad. The Mammoths’ top singles player, Camille Smuckler ’20, will look to build upon an exciting season last spring, which saw her earn All-American honors after a fifth-place finish in the NCAA singles tournament. Maddie Dewire ’20, Ivenitsky and Chen will likely all rise up the Amherst ladder this fall, and each of the three has shown the talent to do so. The Mammoths will finally return to action on Friday, Sept. 15 at the MIT Invitational in Cambridge, Massachusetts.