May 25, 2010

Courtesy of Amherst Athletics

The top-ranked Amherst College women’s tennis team advanced to the National Semifinals for the third time in the last four years with a 5-0 win over Carnegie Mellon University this morning at the 2010 NCAA Division III National Championships. Playing on the campus of Mary Washington University in Fredericksburg, Virginia, the Lord Jeffs won their 20th match of the season (20-2) today.

With the win, Amherst will take on either fourth-ranked Emory or fifth-ranked Denison tomorrow at 9 a.m. If the Jeffs can advance through tomorrow’s semifinal match, Amherst will earn a spot in Thursday’s final for the second straight season. Last spring, Amherst steamrolled all the way into the National Championship match, but fell to archrival Williams College in the title bout. The Jeffs posted a 2-1 record in three outings against the Ephs this season, and would not have to face Williams until the final again this year.

Against the 10th-ranked Tartans of Carnegie Mellon, Amherst took a commanding 3-0 lead after doubles play. The top Lord Jeff pairing of Brittany Berckes (Secaucus, NJ) and Laura Danzig (Allendale, NY) cruised to an impressive 8-2 win at number one over Laura Chen and Ashley Herrick. After falling behind 3-2, Amherst’s number two pairing of Jill Wexler (Beverly, MA) and Natasha  Brown (Woodland Hills, CA) won three straight games to take a 5-3 lead. The pair never trailed again, running away for an 8-3 win. In the final doubles match, Amherst’s Caroline Richman (Pacific Palisades, CA) and Carlissa King (Bayside, NY) out-battled Jennifer Chui and Cze-Ja Tam for an 8-3 win to complete the doubles sweep.

In singles play, Berckes dropped her opening set to Laura Chen 6-2 at number one, while Danzig topped Courtney Chin 6-3 in the first frame at number two. As Berckes and Danzig moved into the second sets of their bouts, Carlissa King completed a 6-0, 6-1 rout of Alexandra Tapak at number three to stretch Amherst’s lead to 4-0.

With Amherst on the verge of advancing, Chin battled back to take the second set 7-5 over Danzig, while Berckes turned the tables for a 6-4 second set win over Chen. Both matches were headed for a third and decisive frame, while Wexler took the court for the number four match against Tam. Tam took the first set against Wexler 6-4, but both Danzig and Berckes closed to within a game of winning their singles bouts to put CMU on the ropes. Danzig closed out her match against Chin, winning 6-3 in the third set to clinch the victory, while Berckes held a 5-1 lead in the third set over Chen as play was halted.

You can follow all of the action from Mary Washington using the NCAA Championships website, including live results of all the matches.

Amherst College 5 : Carnegie Mellon University 1 ~ 2010 NCAA Quarterfinals ~ Fredericksburg, Va.

1) Berckes/Danzig (A) def. Chen/Herrick (CM) 8-2
2) Wexler/Brown (A) def. Chin/Tapak (CM) 8-3
3) Richman/C. King (A) def. Chui/Tam (CM) 8-3

1) Brittany Berckes (A) leading Laura Chen (CM) def. 2-6, 6-4, 5-1, unfinished
2) Laura Danzig (A) def. Courtney Chin (CM) 6-3, 5-7, 6-3
3) Carlissa King (A) def. Alexandra Tapak (CM) 6-0, 6-1
4) Cze-Ja Tam (CM) leading Jill Wexler (A) 6-4, 2-1, unfinished
5) Natasha Brown (A) vs. Jennifer Chui (CM) did not start
6) Laken King (A) vs. Ashley Herrick (CM) did not start