Returning an experienced and talented core from last year's squad, the 2016-17 Amherst College women's tennis team will once again look to remain in the national conversation after returning to the NCAA Division III Championship for their 22nd consecutive season a year ago under the tutelage of head coach Jackie Bagwell, who heads into her 26th year at the helm of the program.
Reaching the NESCAC Championship tournament semifinals, including winning seven league titles, in every season since its seeded round-robin format began, the third-seeded Purple & White once again reached the second round, defeating sixth-seeded Tufts, 5-4 before falling to second-seeded Middlebury, 5-4 in a hard fought battle. Holding the No. 7 national ranking, Amherst's campaign would not end there however, as they earned an at-large bid to the NCAA postseason and were selected as regional hosts while capturing a first round bye. After cruising through the second and third rounds with wins over SUNY Geneseo and No. 8 Wesleyan, 5-0 and 5-2, respectively, the Purple & White's season would come to a close in the national quarterfinals as they were unable to overcome an early deficit to fifth-ranked Middlebury, falling to the Panthers, 5-2. Amherst would conclude 2015-16 with a 14-8 overall record and a 5-2 mark in conference play.
Returning two All-Conference players from a year ago, Amherst is poised to pick up where it left off to start the fall.
MEET THE SENIORS
Leading the way in senior class is Jackie Calla '17, who earned Second Team All-NESCAC honors for her singles play in 2015-16. Playing primarily from the third court, Calla logged a 14-6 record in singles action, while posting an 8-8 mark on the doubles courts.
Senior captains Megan Adamo and Claire Carpenter will also factor into Amherst scoring once again this season, with Adamo owning experience across the ladder in singles play and notching a 2-2 mark from the second court in doubles play. Carpenter touted a 4-3 mark in singles action in 2015-16, including a 2-0 record from the fourth court, and finished 1-0 in second court doubles play.
Lola Fadulu '17 rounds out Amherst's seniors and will also aim to strengthen this year's squad with her leadership and skill.
Avery Wagman'18, a captain, enters her junior campaign primed for a breakthrough season after excelling in both singles and doubles play. Capturing a 9-3 mark while being featured on the sixth court in singles action, Wagman was a crucial component of the Purple & White's playoff run, collecting victories for Amherst in the NESCAC semifinals and in all three rounds on the NCAA postseason tournament. In doubles competition Wagman finished 17-7, including a perfect 6-0 record in league action.
The Purple & White also welcome back Vickie Ip '18, who strung together a stellar sophomore season en route to garnering Second Team All-NESCAC accolades for her singles play after posting a 13-11 record from the second court. An equally impressive doubles player, Ip captured a sensational 27-4 mark in doubles action, including a 16-1 mark playing from the second position, and reached the semifinals of the 2015 ITA Regionals doubles tournament with partner Sue Ghosh '16 before falling to the eventual champions Eudice Chong and Victoria Yu of Wesleyan.
Kelsey Chen '19 and Camilla Trapness '19 add depth and talent, with Chen tallying an 18-8 singles mark and 5-1 record in conference play, and a dominant 26-4 record in doubles action in tandem with Ip. The duo would finish 16-1 from court two a season ago. Trapness notched an undefeated singles and doubles mark in NESCAC action in 2015-16, going 2-0 in both categories from the third court, and finishing 3-0 and 4-4 overall, respectively.
Returners Adrienne Irmer '18, Sofia Aisiks '19, Joanna Booth '19, Jane Fraley '19, Ashley Park '19 and Kelly Yang '19 will bolster the 2016-17 team, with all six student-athletes seeing time on the courts a season ago.
Amherst also adds four talented first-years to this year's squad, with Jen Chen, Anya Ivenitsky, Maddie Dewine and Camille Smukler all looking to make an immediate positive impact for the Purple & White.
Amherst opens its 2016-17 campaign at the three-day ITA Regional Championships Friday-Sunday, Sept. 23-25 at MIT, before hosting archrival Williams College in its dual meet opener on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. The Purple & White close out the fall slate with tournament play, competing in the NEWITT tournament at Smith and Mount Holyoke (Oct. 14-16) and the three-day Panther Invitational on Friday-Sunday, Oct. 21-23 on the campus of Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vt.
The Purple & White begin their spring schedule in March with a five-match Spring Break Trip, taking on Pomona-Pitzer (3/13), Washington (3/14), Carnegie Mellon (3/15), Sweanee (3/17) and Redlands (3/18) before returning to the Pioneer Valley. Entering April on the road, Amherst travels to Connecticut College for a 3:30 p.m. bout on April 4, before trading home and away games with Bowdoin (4/8), Williams (4/15), Bates (4/18) and Tufts (4/19). Amherst concludes the regular season with back-to-back home matches against Wesleyan and Tufts on Saturday and Sunday, April 22 and 23, respectively, before traveling to Middlebury on April 29 for its regular season finale.
Not yet a member of the Friends of Amherst Women's Tennis for the 2016-17 year? Become a first-time member of or renew your membership in the FAA and support Coach Bagwell and the women's tennis program. Make a gift ahead of the team's first tournament, the ITA Regional Championships, on Friday-Sunday, September 23-25 at MIT. Go Amherst!