Nov. 12, 2010

* Courtesy of Amherst College Athletics

SPRINGFIELD, MA - Playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since its run to the national quarterfinals in 2007, the Amherst College volleyball team opened up the 2010 tournament with a 3-0 win over Lesley University this evening. Playing on the campus of Springfield College, the top-seeded Lord Jeffs easily defeated the Lynx 25-9, 25-10 and 25-13.

With the win, Amherst advances to tomorrow's Second Round where the Jeffs will face the winner of tonight's 8 p.m. match between Springfield College and Tufts University. The Jeffs will take on the Pride or the Jumbos tomorrow at 6:00 p.m.

The Lord Jeffs ran out to a 9-2 lead in the first set, forcing the Lynx to call a timeout. With senior tri-captain Rachel Yorke (Los Angeles, CA) serving after the stoppage, Amherst's lead ran to 13-2 before Lesley's Amanda McCracken put home a kill. McCracken, the 2010 NECC Player of the Year, helped Lesley hang around with three early kills, but Amherst's offense proved too strong as the margin swelled once again. The Jeffs pulled away scoring eight of the final ten points for a 25-9 win in the first set.

Meaghan Chadwick gave the Lynx and early 3-1 lead in the second set, but the Jeffs scored the next three points with Yorke serving once again. Lesley called for their second timeout of the night trailing 13-7 in the second frame as Laura Hyman (Glencoe, IL) put away her second kill of the match. The Jeffs never looked back, winning the second set 25-10 to move within one win over advancing.

In the third and final set, Lesley once again jumped out an early lead - this time at 6-3. Amherst came roaring back though, scoring six of the next eight points to take a 9-8 advantage. Amherst rolled out to a 20-13 lead on a kill by rookie Claire Hoffman (Spokane, WA). With senior Erin Camp (Santa Monica, CA) serving, Amherst scored the final six points of the night to win 25-13.

Amherst was led by 13 kills from Cristy Meier (San Anselmo, CA) on just 18 total attempts. With no errors in the match, Meier finished the night with an amazing .722 hitting percentage. Hyman and Katherine Kanoff (Pacific Palisades, CA) each finished with seven kills, with Hyman's coming on just 10 attempts (.700). Sophomore Callie Neilson dished out 27 assists in the win, while Kristin Keeno (Honolulu, HI) led Amherst with 10 digs.

Lesley's season comes to an end with a 20-10 overall record. McCracken led the Lynx with 11 of the team's 23 kills. Chadwick and Kaitlin Wechsler each had four kills in support. Kaitlyn Miller had 19 assists for Lesley, while Caitlin Vandenburgh had a match-high 13 digs for the Lynx.

In addition to advancing from today's opening round match, the last two days have been even more memorable for the members of Amherst's senior class. The New England Women's Volleyball Association (NEWVA) named Berkley, Hyman and Yorke to its 2010 All New England Senior Team. Additionally, Hyman, who was named to the NESCAC's First Team All-Conference ranks earlier this week, was tabbed for the All-Region Team but the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).