May 10, 2009

Courtesy of Amherst Athletics

AMHERST, MA - The top-ranked Amherst College women's tennis team is headed to the national quarterfinals thanks to a 5-3 win over Tufts University Sunday afternoon in the NCAA Regional Finals. The Lord Jeffs will take on Gustavus Adolphus on Tuesday, May 19 at the Collins Hill Athletic Club in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

Amherst advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Championship in each year from 1998 to 2007 before being upset in last year's regional finals by Bowdoin College. The Lord Jeffs have advanced to the national semifinals eight times since 1998 and to the title match three times during that span, winning the team championship in 1999.

While the Jumbos end their impressive season with a 10-6 record, Amherst (19-1) increases its winning streak to 19 matches.

Amherst's #3 doubles pair of Laura Danzig and Jill Wexler gave the hosts an early 1-0 lead with an 8-1 win over Jennifer LaCara and Erica Miller. Anuja Ankola and Mimi Bell were just as impressive in their 8-2 victory over Jennifer Lavet and Edwina Stewart in the #2 match, as the Jeffs quickly had a 2-0 cushion.

The top doubles match went to a tiebreaker, with Tufts' Julia Browne and Meghan McCooey earning a 9-8 (7-4) win over Brittany Berckes and Natasha Brown. The Jumbos looked sharp early on and took a 5-2 lead over the Lord Jeffs' top pair, but Amherst battled back to tie the match at 7-7. The Jeffs went ahead 8-7 on a smash to the back corner by Berckes, but Browne and McCooey came right back to tie things up at 8-8 before winning the tiebreaker.

Browne kept rolling with an impressive 6-3, 6-0 win over Berckes in the #1 singles matchup, but Laken King quickly handed the lead back to Amherst with her 6-0, 6-1 win over Stewart at #5. McCooey's 6-4, 6-2 victory over Carlissa King in the #2 singles match tied the teams at 3-3, but it would be all Amherst the rest of the way.

Bell broke the tie with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Mari Homma at #6, and Brown sealed the deal for Amherst with her 7-5, 6-1 victory over LaCara at #4. When the match was stopped, Wexler was leading the third set after she and Miller had split the first two.

1. Julia Browne/Meghan McCooey (T) def. Brittany Berckes/Natasha Brown (A), 9-8 (7-4)
2. Anuja Ankola/Mimi Bell (A) def. Jennifer Lavet/Edwina Stewart (T), 8-2
3. Laura Danzig/Jill Wexler (A) def. Jennifer LaCara/Erica Miller (T), 8-1

1. Julia Browne (T) def. Brittany Berckes (A) 6-3, 6-0
2. Meghan McCooey (T) def. Carlissa King (A) 6-4, 6-2
3. Jill Wexler (A) leads Erica Miller (T) [4-6], 6-3, 2-0
4. Natasha Brown (A) def. Jennifer LaCara (T) 7-5, 6-1
5. Laken King (A) def. Edwina Stewart (T) 6-0, 6-1
6. Mimi Bell (A) def. Mari Homma (T) 6-4, 6-2