May 16, 2010

AMHERST, MA - The top-ranked Amherst College women's tennis team advanced to the National Quarterfinals for the ninth time in the last decade, picking up a 5-1 win over conference rival Middlebury College in the Regional Championship of the 2010 NCAA Tournament this afternoon. The Lord Jeffs lost in the 2009 National Championship match, and are now just two wins from earning a spot in this year's final bout.

In doubles play, Amherst quickly took a 1-0 lead with an 8-3 win at number two by Jill Wexler (Beverly, MA) and Natasha Brown (Woodland Hills, CA) over Middlebury's Victoria Aiello and Anna Burke. The Lord Jeffs pushed their lead to 2-0 as Brittany Berckes (Secaucus, NJ) and Laura Danzig (Allendale, NY) won by the same 8-3 score at number one over Jamie Haar and Alexandra McAtee. The Panthers closed the gap to 2-1 before the changeover to singles play when Leah Kepping and Brittney Faber pulled out an 8-6 win over Carlissa King (Bayside, NY) and Caroline Richman (Pacific Palisades, CA) at number three.

Amherst took a 3-1 lead as Wexler cruised to a straight set 6-1, 6-1 win over Jamie Haar at number four singles. The Jeffs closed in on the win shortly after with Carlissa King handing Brittney Faber a 6-3, 6-2 defeat at number three. With Amherst on the verge of a trip back to the National Quarterfinals, it was only fitting that senior quad-captain, and number one player, Brittany Berckes closed out the win with a powerful forehand winner. With the shot, Berckes finished off Victoria Aiello 6-4, 6-3 at number one, ending the match with a 5-1 win for the Lord Jeffs.

Amherst held a lead in two of the three remaining matches when play was halted. Laura Danzig held a 2-0 lead in a second-set tiebreaker against Alexandra McAtee, with Danzig having won the first set 6-4. Laken King (Bayside, NY) topped Anna Burke 7-5 in the first set, and was tied 1-1 in the second stanza. At number five, Middlebury's Leah Kepping held a lead over Amherst's Natasha Brown, winning the first set 6-4, before sitting tied at 2-2 in the second.

Middlebury's season comes to an end at 14-6, while the Lord Jeffs will advance with a 19-2 record after the win. Amherst will take on either TCNJ or Carnegie Mellon in the Quarterfinals, and either Denison or Emory should it advance to the Semifinal Round.

Amherst 5: Middlebury 1 - NCAA Tournament Third Round - Amherst, MA - Sunday, May 16, 2010

1) Berckes/Danzig (A) def. Haar/McAtee (M) 8-3
2) Wexler/Brown (A) def. Aiello/Burke (M) 8-3
3) Faber/Kepping (M) def. Richman/C. King (A) 8-6

1) Brittany Berckes (A) def. Victoria Aiello (M) 6-4, 6-3
2) Laura Danzig (A) leading Alexandra McAtee (M) 6-4, 6-6 (2-0), unfinished
3) Carlissa King (A) def. Brittney Faber (M) 6-3, 6-2
4) Jill Wexler (A) def. Jamie Haar (M)6-1, 6-1
5) Leah Kepping (M) leading Natasha Brown (A) 6-4, 2-2, unfinished
6) Laken King (A) leading Anna Burke (M) 7-5, 1-1, unfinished