Men's Tennis to Host NCAA Regionals
Contact: Mike O'Brien
AMHERST, Mass. – After claiming its third NESCAC Championship in four years, the fourth-ranked Amherst College men’s tennis team earned its 16th appearance to the NCAA Division III Men’s Tennis Championships and will host first, second and third round action beginning Friday, May 9 through Sunday, May 11.
Boasting a 31-3 overall mark, the Jeffs earned a first round bye and await the winner of Friday’s match between Stevens Institute of Technology and Southern Maine University. Also earning automatic berths to the national postseason tournament and playing Friday in first round action will be MIT and Nichols College. The winner advances to the second round on Saturday to face 16th-ranked Bowdoin. The second round winners will meet Sunday at 12 p.m., with the winner making a trip to Claremont, Calif. for the national quarterfinals.
Friday, May 9
Match 1 – Stevens Institute of Technology vs. Southern Maine, 12 p.m. (Amherst Courts)
Match 2 – MIT vs. Nichols, 1 p.m. (Amherst Courts)
Indoor sites: Match 1 at Ludlow Tennis Club, 12 p.m.; Match 2 at Grande Meadow Tennis Club, 1 p.m.
Saturday, May 10
Match 3 – Amherst vs. Match 1 Winner, 10 a.m. (Amherst Courts)
Match 4 – Bowdoin vs. Match 2 Winner, 1 p.m. (Amherst Courts)
Indoor sites: Match 3 at Grande Meadow Tennis Club, 10 a.m.; Match 4 at Grande Meadow Tennis Club, to follow Match 3
Sunday, May 11
Match 5 – Match 3 Winner vs. Match 4 Winner, 12 p.m. (Amherst Courts)
Indoor site: Match 5 at Hampshire Tennis Club, 12 p.m.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
The Jeffs have qualified for the NCAA tournament in each of the past six years and boast a 28-14 overall record in 16 appearances, winning the national title in 2011 while finishing as the runner-up on two occasions (2009, 2010).
The Jeffs, ranked No. 4 in the country, won their third NESCAC title in four years and sixth overall, tied for second all-time. Amherst held a 17 straight dual-match winning record prior to their loss to No. 3 Middlebury to close out the regular-season but avenged the loss by beating the Panthers 5-1 in the conference finals. The Jeffs’ three losses this season were by 5-4 decisions to NAIA Concordia (Calif.) and Middlebury, as well as a 6-3 decision to No. 1 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
Anchoring the squad from the top of the order in both singles and doubles is 2013 All-NESCAC First Team selection, Joey Fritz ’14. The senior has played from the No. 1 court all season and boasts a 15-4 dual match record in singles and 16-5 dual match doubles record alongside classmate Justin Reindel. In singles action, Fritz won eight straight from Mar. 22 to Apr. 19. Paired up with Ben Fife ’16 during the fall, the duo claimed the USTA/ITA Division III Men’s New England Regional Championship by defeating Brantner Jones and Palmer Campbell of Middlebury, 6-7 (6), 6-2, 10-7.
Playing most of the season from the No. 2 singles court, Chris Dale ’14 looks to play a pivotal role in the postseason tournament. Dale is 9-2 in dual matches from the No. 2 spot and 2-1 on the year from the No. 1 court. He won nine straight from Mar. 21 to Apr. 20 and is 15-4 throughout the 2013-14 year, going 4-1 during the fall. In doubles play, he competed in all three spots and went 11-2 overall.
Michael Solimano ’16 and Anton Zykov ’17 will compete in the middle of the Amherst lineup. Solimano has seen time on the No. 1, 2 and 3 courts and is 15-2 overall on the year, going 8-0 from the No. 3 position. Entering this weekend, he has won 11 straight. Zykov is 16-5 this season from courts 1-4. All five of his losses came against teams ranked within the top-11 in the country. He is 8-2 in No. 3 singles and 5-2 in No. 4 singles.
The bottom of the lineup is likely to feature Andrew Yaraghi ’16 and Reindel. Yaraghi as seen action on courts one through five, tallying a 16-3 dual match record. He has won 10 straight heading into Saturday’s second round match and has played six of his last nine in the No. 5 spot, posting a perfect 6-0 record. Reindel has played on courts 3-6 throughout the season and is 14-3 on the year.
In other doubles action, Aaron Revzin ’16 has seen the majority of time on the No. 2 court paired with Yaraghi or Solimano. With Yaraghi, the duo have a combined 6-1 mark from courts one and two while Revzin and Solimano hold a 9-3 record from the same spots.
SCOUTING THE FIELD
Stevens Institute of Technology (13-11) won the Empire 8 Athletic Conference and is looking to advance to the second round of the NCAA Championships for the fifth time in as many years. They will face the Little East Conference champions Southern Maine University (14-3). The Huskies won the league title for the first time since the 2007 season and enter the tournament riding a 14-match winning streak after opening the 2013-14 campaign, 0-3.
The other first round matchup features MIT (13-5) and Nichols College (21-1). MIT won its 16th consecutive New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship, winning every conference tournament since the league began in 1999. The 2014 season marks the team’s ninth straight NCAA appearance and 21st overall. Nichols won a school record 21 matches, with its only loss to Division 1 UConn. The Bison won the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) and enter their third championship appearance with a 17-match win streak at stake.
Earning the other first round bye is Bowdoin (11-9). Ranked 16th nationally in the ITA Division III Men’s Tennis rankings, the Polar Bears earned an at-large bid from the NESCAC. The team’s longest win streak this season was six matches from Mar. 19 through Apr. 12.