Amherst Eyes Another NCAA Title Run
Contact: Mike O'Brien
Despite the loss of All-America standout Austin Chafetz ’12 last season, the Jeffs remained a national powerhouse in 2012-13 with their fourth NCAA Semifinal appearance in the last five years.
The squad is poised to make another deep run in the NCAA Championship in head coach Chris Garner’s seventh year with the program. Under Garner, the Jeffs have reached the national quarterfinals five straight years, won back-to-back NESCAC titles in 2011 and 2012 and earned the program’s first national championship in 2011. The No. 3 ranked Jeffs were two wins shy of adding another NCAA title last season before falling short to national runner-up Clarement-Mudd-Scripps in the semifinals.
Amherst has plenty of talent and depth to fill the void left behind from its singles national runner-up Mark Kahan ’13. Once again, the Jeffs have a deep roster capable of replicating their previous success from the past six seasons under Garner. In a strong conference as competitive as the NESCAC, Amherst figures to remain one of the top teams in the country with an extremely talented core of seniors and sophomores.
Meet the Team
Although the Jeffs will be without one of their key players from a year ago, they return one of the top players in all of Division III, Joey Fritz ’14. Fritz played in the middle of the Amherst lineup during his first two seasons but made the move to the top of the order as a junior with a 12-4 record en route to All-America and first team All-NESCAC singles honors. He finished the 2012-13 season as the ninth ranked singles player in the nation and third ranked in the region. Fritz earned a seventh seed in the NCAA singles championship but dropped in the first round.
The Jeffs return a total of six senior class members. Complementing Fritz will be Chris Dale ’14 and Justin Reindel ’14. Dale’s presence will once again be pivotal in the Amherst double’s lineup and will look to make another strong impact in singles play as well. The senior primarily played in doubles his first two seasons but stepped into the No. 5 singles position last year and excelled, posting an 11-3 record. In doubles play, Dale played primarily on the No. 1 court and went 9-5 en route to second team All-NESCAC doubles honors.
Reindel had a stellar junior campaign in both singles and doubles play. His success a year ago has increased expectations as he figures to be a solid contributor on the court. Reindel mostly played from the No. 6 spot in singles and went a staggering 15-3 in dual match play. His double’s record replicated his play on the singles court, posting a 14-4 mark from the No. 3 position.
Amherst returns a very strong sophomore class that will complement its stellar seniors. Headlining the group is 2012 NESCAC Rookie of the Year and All-America selection, Andrew Yaraghi ’16. Yaraghi shined as a first-year, earning Second Team All-NESCAC singles and doubles honors as well as a trip to the NCAA singles tournament. Yaraghi won his first round match but fell in the second to finish the season as the No. 32 ranked player in the nation. He finished the season with a 16-6 singles mark from the No. 3 position and 18-6 record on the No. 2 and No. 3 courts.
Yaraghi isn’t the only All-Conference sophomore returning to the squad this season. Michael Solimano ’16 claimed a Second Team All-Conference selection in doubles following an impressive first-year campaign in which he ranked No. 23 in the nation in the final doubles rankings. Playing primarily from the No. 1 and No. 2 courts, he posted a 12-8 mark.
Also representing the sophomore class is Ben Fife ’16. Fife played a significant role for the Jeffs in his first year with the program. In singles play, he went 11-8 in the No. 4 spot and looks to have an even bigger impact in 2013-14. The sophomore also went 13-5 in doubles from the No. 2 and 3 courts as a first-year.
A trio of classmates will be looking to join Dale, Fritz and Reindel in the lineup this year, as Brenton Arnaboldi ’14, Justin Hendrix ’14 and Eli Mlaver ’14 round out the seniors.
Joining Fife, Solimano and Yaraghi in a loaded sophomore class is Carlos de Bracamonte ’16, Russell Einbinder ’16, Birk Mitau ’16, Philip Qu ’16, Aaron Revzin ’16 and Sam Ubersax ’16. Several first-years will also be trying out for the team this September.
The 2013-14 season will begin Friday, Sept. 27, when the Jeffs head to Middlebury for the three-day ITA Regional Championships. Last season featured an all Amherst finals as Yaraghi defeated Fife 6-2, 6-2.