AMHERST, Mass. – The Amherst women's tennis team will begin their home slate of spring competition on Saturday, March 30 against Trinity (Conn.) after a productive Florida trip where the Mammoths faced ranked opponents and prevailed with four wins out of their five matches played, which improved their record to 5-1 overall.
The Mammoths will open play in the northeast on the road against Trinity (Conn.) in a conference match up on Saturday (March 30th) before their home opener on April 6th when they take on Bowdoin at 10:00 AM. Amherst will then travel to Colby College for another conference match the next day before returning to Amherst on April 13th to host Bates College at 4:00 PM.
The Mammoths, who took down Williams College in the fall (6-3) for the first time in four years, are set to face the Little Three foe again on April 20th in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Amherst will then compete against Wesleyan (April 21st) before rounding out their regular season against Tufts (April 24th) at home and Middlebury (April 27th) on the road.
MEET THE COACHES
Jackie Bagwell enters her 28th season at the helm of the Amherst College women's tennis program. With over 400 career wins, Bagwell has had five 20-plus win seasons including an undefeated record in her 1998-99 campaign in which she led Amherst to the college's first ever NCAA title in any sport. Her teams have also taken home at least a share of the NESCAC crown in nine of the past 13 seasons.
Benay Weintraub began her first season with the Purple & White after being named the assistant coach in the fall of 2018. The Memphis, Tennessee native served as the Graduate Assistant Tennis coach at Smith College from 2017-2018 before joining Amherst. The 2015 graduate from Whittier College also was a four-year member of the tennis team and an ITA Scholar-Athlete.
"Playing against nationally ranked opponents in Orlando showed us that if we can improve 1% more each day, then we can do great things" said the coaches. "The team being able to bond with each other and spend time with their families was also a major benefit of the trip. We have a really cohesive group and this trip reinforced that bond."
MEET THE TEAM
The Purple & White returned 10 student-athletes to this seasons roster while adding six first-years to the mix. Kelsey Chen '19, Jane Fraley '19, Ashley Park '19, Camilla Trapness '19, and Kelly Yang '19 lead the team as the returning senior class. The veteran corps lend experience as Chen, Trapness, Fraley, and Yang serve as the 2018-19 captains.
Juniors Anya Ivenitsky '20 and Camille Smukler '20 return for their third season after a sophomore campaign that landed Smukler as the ITA Player to Watch and Ivenitsky an All-American in doubles. Smukler currently sits with a singles record of 3-1 and 2-0 in doubles so far this season while Ivenitsky is 2-2 in singles and 3-1 in doubles.
"The spring break trip was definitely an exciting week for us as a team because these are our first matches of the season. I am confident that our energy will carry over into our home schedule and we are all really pumped" said Ivenitsky regarding the spring break competition. Smukler added "The competition in Orlando was really strong this year, as even the lower-ranked teams gave us some good, competitive matches."
Jen Chen '20 and Maddie Dewire '20 round out the junior class this season. Dewire is a perfect 3-0 in singles competition while also posting a 1-1 record in doubles so far this season. Catie Burkhart is the lone student-athlete representing the Sophomore class. The native of Wayne, Pennsylvania adds depth to the Mammoths roster alongside Chen and will be vying for an increased role this season.
Coach Bagwell added six first-years to this roster, the largest incoming class in the last three years. Among them are Jackie Bukzin '22 and Claire Evans '22 who have already accrued ITA accolades. In the fall, Bukzin became an ITA Regional Champion after taking down Wesleyan's Venia Yeung 6-1, 6-0 in the singles draw. Evans notched an ITA Championship appearance in doubles alongside Bukzin to top off the regional championship for Amherst. The duo also won the A-Draw Championship at the New England Intercollegiate Tennis Tournament (NEWITT) before heading into the winter break.
"Heading into the winter break, we really knew that practicing hard and often was necessary in order to have a successful start to the spring" said Evans regarding the off-time. Bukzin commented on her impressive opening semester saying, "Being an ITA singles champion gave me a lot of confidence going into the spring season. We produced great results in the fall, and the only way to keep that momentum going was to push ourselves and hold each other to a higher level."
Anya Ramras '22 and Maggie Owensby '22 also join the Amherst women's tennis team for their first season. Owensby will enter their home slate with an undefeated 5-0 record in singles while Ramras sits with a record of 3-2 in doubles. Madeline Clinton '22 and May Zhu '22 cap off the season roster for the Mammoths, aiming to make an impact in their first season in the purple and white.