Athletics

Reigning Champs Set to Defend Crown in 2014

mtennisaction.jpgContact: Mike O'Brien

SEASON OUTLOOK

The Amherst College men’s tennis team is coming off a national championship run in which the Jeffs upset top-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 5-3. Headlining last year’s squad was the national player of the year, Joey Fritz ’14. Fritz was a member of two national title team’s (2011, 2014) and will be an irreplaceable component in the Amherst lineup.

However, despite the loss of Fritz and six other seniors from a year ago, the Jeffs look poised to remain a national powerhouse as they seek their seventh NESCAC crown and fourth in the past five years. The 2014-15 Amherst men’s tennis program will be guided by head coach Todd Doebler, who takes the reigns following Chris Garner’s departure. Doebler brings a wealth of coaching experience to the Pioneer Valley, and most recently served as the Associate Head Coach at Texas Christian University (TCU). His Division I background bodes well for a talented Jeff roster.

With Doebler at the helm of the program, the Jeffs seek a sixth NCAA national semifinal appearance for the sixth time in last seven years. Returning this year from the national championship squad that finished 36-3 overall and 8-1 in the NESCAC are nine upperclassmen, with four sophomores and one first-year.

Solimano3.jpgMEET THE TEAM
Amherst returns four players from the Jeffs national championship lineup. Headlining the group is two-time All-NESCAC selection Michael Solimano ’16. As a sophomore, the New Jersey native played primarily from the No. 3 spot in singles play while posting an 18-4 record across positions 1-to-4. In the title match, Solimano defeated the seventh-ranked player in the country and claimed the No. 3 spot in doubles alongside Chris Dale ’14. He faired exceptionally well in doubles action last year, playing mostly in the No. 2 and 3 positions with a 22-6 overall mark.

Also returning to the lineup from last year’s national championship match are juniors Aaron Revzin and Andrew Yaraghi, and sophomore Anton Zykov. Revzin is a doubles specialist and played primarily in the No. 2 spot. He recorded an 18-8 record as a sophomore. Yaraghi excelled in singles play and posted a 21-4 mark, mostly in the No. 5 position, while going 19-8 in doubles play. In his first year donning the Purple & White, Zykov shined from No. 4 singles. He registered an 18-6 singles mark and 13-8 doubles record while earning a singles win in the semifinals against third-ranked Trinity (Texas).

Leading a relatively young Amherst squad this season will be senior co-captains Andrew Scheiner and Sean Rodriguez. Scheiner posted a clean slate in singles play as a junior, going 4-0 in the bottom of the lineup with wins over three top-25 teams, and went 4-1 in doubles. Rodriguez experienced similar success in the nine matches he played in last year, notching a perfect 9-0 record in doubles play and claiming four wins against teams ranked within the top-21. He was also 7-2 overall in singles play.

Also looking to make a significant impact this year will be juniors Carlos de Bracamonte, Russell Einbinder, Ben Fife and Birk Mitau, as well as sophomores Andrew Arnaboldi, Sam Silver and Myles Tang. Doebler welcomes one newcomer to the 2014-15 squad, Ben Birkenfeld ’18.

The Jeffs begin the 2014-15 season Friday, Sept. 26 with the three-day ITA Regional Championships hosted by Middlebury College.