Season Preview: National Power Amherst Looks to Advance to NCAA Quarterfinals for the Seventh Straight Season

August 25, 2003 

2003-04 Season Recap 
AMHERST, MA - The Amherst College women's tennis team continued its postseason success with its fifth trip to the NCAA Final Four in six years. The Jeffs posted a 13-3 regular season record, with two of their three losses coming against Division I opponents (UMass Amherst and Cal-Fullerton). Even more impressive than their flawless 10-0 record against NESCAC opponents was the fact that they dropped only 14 of 90 conference sets. This dominance included 9-0 shutout wins over Trinity, Wesleyan, Colby and Bates. This run also included a pair of victories (6-3 and 5-4) over defending national champs and archrival Williams. These wins, along with its victory over Wesleyan, earned Amherst the outright Little Three Championship. 

The team's fall season highlight came in its come-from-behind, first-place finish at the 26-team New England Open. "We had to win all our doubles matches to come back and win," said head coach Jackie Bagwell. Sophomores Tristan Hedrick and Rachel Holt teamed to win the No. 1 doubles championship, while Paige Lawrence and first-year Kristen Raverta claimed the No. 2 title and junior Wallis Molchen and sophomore Erin Murphy took the No. 3 crown. In singles competition, Raverta claimed the No. 1 championship. Holt also tasted singles victory in the fall by claiming the OMNI Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Championship. 

The squad headed west to begin its spring season, where it would post a 2-2 record against tough West Coast competition. The team dropped matches to the eventual national champions, Emory University, and Division I opponent Cal-Fullerton, but came away from the trip with an avenging victory over Pomona-Pitzer, who defeated the Jeffs the previous spring, and a win over Claremont before returning east. 

The regular season concluded with victories over Middlebury (7-2) and Tufts (6-3) before heading to the NESCAC Championship Tournament at Williams. There the Jeffs finished in a second-place tie with Tufts, highlighted by Hedrick's first-place finish in the B-flight singles championship. Also placing high for Amherst were Raverta (second-place A-flight singles), Hedrick and Holt (No. 1 doubles runners-up), and senior co-captain Roopali Agarwal and first-year Hadley Miller (No. 2 doubles runners-up). 

The Jeffs' outstanding year earned them a first-round bye and the right to host one of two NCAA Northeast Regionals, where they blanked Vassar College 9-0 to advance to the NCAA quarterfinals for the sixth straight year. There, the squad faced and defeated DePauw University 5-4 for its final win of the season. The Jeffs bowed to Washington and Lee University in the national semifinals, and were later bested by Williams in the third-place match. Amherst finished the season ranked fourth in the national polls and second in the Northeast in the final ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings. 

Key Losses 
The Jeffs lose the outstanding leadership of graduated captain Roopali Agarwal. Agarwal earned Second-Team All-NESCAC honors for doubles (along with then first-year Hadley Miller) and finished the season ranked ninth in the Northeast in the final ITA doubles rankings. 

Key Returnees 
Amherst will lean heavily upon its veterans as several outstanding members of last year's team return. Senior Wallis Molchen will serve as the team's sole captain. Junior standouts Tristan Hedrick and Rachel Holt are also back. Hedrick was First-Team All NESCAC in singles, Second-Team All-NESCAC in doubles and finished the season ranked 10th in the Northeast in the final ITA singles rankings. Holt was Second-Team All-NESCAC in both singles and doubles, and posted a final season ranking of 15th in the nation and third in the Northeast. The pair was ranked seventh in the nation in doubles competition and second in the Northeast. Contributions are also expected from juniors Erin Murphy, Second-Team All-NESCAC in doubles, and Liz Libert. Also returning are sophomores Kristen Raverta and Hadley Miller. Raverta earned a host of awards and honors including ITA Northeast Rookie of the Year, NESCAC Rookie of the Year and First-Team All-NESCAC in singles. She also finished the season ranked 14th nationally and second in the Northeast. Miller collected Second-Team All-NESCAC honors in doubles and, with graduated senior Agarwal, finished ninth in the Northeast in doubles. Sophomore Miranda Kim rounds out the list of returnees for this year's squad.