LEWISTON — It was the kind of test that the Bates College men’s tennis schedule is loaded with.

Paul Castonguay wants his Bobcats challenged and Saturday the Amherst College team did just that. The Lord Jeffs blanked Bates 9-0 to win their 11th straight.

“Every team on our schedule is legit and a ranked team,” said Castonguay. “We don’t shy away from the ranked teams. The way I look at it, we wan’t to be ready down the stretch. If we’re good enough to be there, we’ll be tested and seasoned for that.”

Amherst is ranked third in the nation and is now 23-2. They made a stiff challenge for No. 25 Bates, who is now 4-7. The Bobcats have now lost four of its last five.

“They’re perennially one of the best teams in the country,” Castonguay said. “They’re very strong. All year we’ve competed really well with top 10 teams. We have some veterans, but we also have three first-year players in the singles lineup. I just love the way we’ve competed.”

Bates played tough against Amherst Saturday but getting down 3-0 in the doubles matches put the Bobcats in an early hole.

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“I think they got off to a really strong start with the doubles,” Amherst coach Chris Garner said. “So they were able to ride that momentum for the doubles. The singles were a different story. Bates was really strong right off the bat. They made it very interesting.”

Bates wasn’t helped by the fact that they’ve been in finals all week. Castonguay says that’s no excuse but it could have been a factor.

“It wasn’t an ordinary prep week,” Castonguay said. “Though they were here playing and working really hard, they’re all good students, and they want to do well. They’re really ground down from not sleeping enough. In the spring, there’s only so many weekends, and we have to use this one.”

In the doubles play, the first team of Joey Fritz and Justin Reindel beat Bates top pair of Tim Berg and Pierre Planche by an 8-4 score. The other two doubles matches went to the Jeffs, 8-3. Andrew Yaraghi and Aaron Revzin beat Ben Bogard and Peter Yanofsky and Michael Solimano and Chris Dale beat Eric Ruta and Chris Ellis.

“Our guys had a good day,” Garner said. “We played well. That’s how some of these matches go, you get up and it’s obviously tough to comeback. Our guys did a good job in clamping down.”

Bates pushed the first and second singles into third sets. Fritz beat Berg 5-7, 6-2, 10-7 and Dale beat Planche  3-6, 7-6, 10-7.

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“They were definitely up to the challenge,” Garner said. “They were competing extremely hard. Every one of the matches could have one either direction.”

In the other singles matches, Amherst won them all in straight sets. Solimano beat Ellis in third singles 6-2, 6-4. Anton Zykov beat Brent Feldman 7-5, 6-0. Yaraghi beat Henry Lee 6-1,6-3. Reindel beat Patrick Ordway 6-4, 6-3.

“We graduated two players that were responsible for almost three points a match,” said Castonguay of Rod Crampton and Matt Bettles. “They had seven All-Americans between them. The guys are competing amazingly for losing points up top of the lineup. Today, we were right there. They were competing very well.”

Bates hosts Tufts on Tuesday and then hits the road for five straight matches to end the season. They include trips to Williams, Brandeis, Bowdoin, Trinity and Wesleyan.

“We kind of go into a pro team mode,” Castonguay said. “There’s no academics this week. We just travel, play and practice.

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