2007-08 Season Preview

Menezes 2

2006-07 Season Recap

Last year’s Lord Jeffs won their only two matches of the fall season en route to an 18-5 (4-1 NESCAC) finish, a conference title and an appearance in the national championship match. After losing to Bowdoin College in mid-April to fall to 8-4, Amherst won its final three contests of the regular season, including a thrilling 5-4 win at Williams College. The Jeffs then hosted and stormed through the NESCAC championship tournament, avenging their loss to Bowdoin with a 7-2 upset victory in the semifinals before edging out Williams in the finals, again by a 5-4 margin. Amherst’s final two home matches came in the opening rounds of the NCAA tournament, as the Jeffs advanced to the national quarterfinals with a pair of 5-0 wins. Amherst moved into the semifinals by squeaking by Gustavus Adolphus College, 5-4, and then blanked Sewanee, 5-0, for its 10th consecutive win and a spot in the title match. The Jeffs gave Washington & Lee University a great match, but fell just shy of the program’s second national title, dropping the match 5-2 to end the spring season.

Losses

Amherst loses of a pair of senior co-captains to graduation: Katie Hudson and Caitlin Rhodes. Hudson spent most of the 2006-07 season playing in the No. 2 doubles slot and as the Jeffs’ No. 5 singles player. She played in every match of her senior season, posting a 14-9 record in doubles play and a 12-7 mark in singles matches. One of Hudson’s most significant victories came in Amherst’s 5-4 win over Gustavus Adolphus in the national quarterfinals, when she picked up a crucial 6-2, 6-1 win in the No. 5 singles match.

Stein

Returning Players

Amherst’s senior class is outstanding to say the least. After beginning her career at Amherst with a pair of dominating seasons, Alicia Menezes lived up to expectations during her junior campaign. The Jeffs’ No. 1 singles and doubles player qualified for the NCAA singles tournament before teaming up with rookie sensation Brittany Berckes to claim the program’s first national championship in doubles play. Menezes earned All-NESCAC First Team honors for both singles and doubles play, while her performances in the national tournament earned her Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-America Honors for both singles and doubles.

Also entering their senior campaigns are Amy DiPilato, Jenn Murphy, Monica Snyder and Laura Stein. Spending most of her time as the Jeffs’ No. 3 singles player, Snyder posted an impressive 14-5 mark; she also saw action in eight doubles matches last season, winning four of them. Stein picked up 16 victories in singles play and 17 in doubles last year, and also gained national attention by earning the 2007 ITA Arthur Ashe, Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship. Aside from demonstrating her talent by winning 16 of 20 singles matches and 16 of 22 doubles matches last year, Murphy proved to come through when Amherst needed her most, winning the fifth and deciding match in both the NESCAC championship and the NCAA quarterfinals.

Murphy

Amherst was blessed with an exceptional rookie class during the 2006-07 season. Aside from helping Menezes claim the first national doubles title in Amherst history (finishing at 18-4 as a duo), Berckes dominated singles play in the No. 2 slot, winning a team-best 18 matches while dropping only five. Her success earned her All-NESCAC First Team and ITA All-America honors for doubles play and All-NESCAC Second Team honors for singles. Jill Wexler also made an impressive debut, teaming up with Hudson in the No. 2 doubles slot to finish with a 10-5 mark. Rounding out this year’s sophomore class is Jenn Ouyang, who went 2-1 in singles play as a rookie.

Amherst also features a deep junior class that will look to share time and fill gaps whenever necessary. The class of 2009 consists of Anuja Ankola, Melissa Moulton and Tara Shabahang.

Newcomers

Amherst’s senior class will be outnumbered by the large group of first-years, consisting of Laken King, Charlotte Wilinsky, Ameila Bell, Natasha Brown, Carlissa King, Danielle Erb and Jennifer Kim. The Jeffs also feature a new assistant coach, Jon Hurwitz, who was most recently the head men’s tennis coach at Amherst Regional High School.

Season Outlook

With reigning NESCAC Coach of the Year Jackie Bagwell back at the helm, as well as an abundance of returning players with valuable experience, Amherst should once again be a prime contender for conference and national championships.