Defending Champ Amherst Earns Third Seed in NESCAC Tournament
November 2, 2001
AMHERST, MA - The defending champion Amherst College volleyball team earned the No. 3 seed in the eight-team NESCAC Championship Tournament hosted by Middlebury College Friday and Saturday at Pepin Gymnasium. The Jeffs (23-6/8-2 NESCAC) open tournament play with a quarterfinal match against sixth-seeded Colby College Friday at 8 p.m.
Wesleyan University - which boasts a 9-1 record in conference play (27-4 overall, including a trio of wins over Amherst) - won its last nine league matches to earn the top seed and will face eighth-seeded Middlebury (13-11/3-7 NESCAC) Friday at 6 p.m. In the other 6 p.m. quarterfinal, second-seeded Williams College (25-3/8-2 NESCAC) faces seventh-seeded Trinity, followed by Amherst vs. Colby and fourth-seeded Tufts (20-11/7-3 NESCAC) against fifth-seeded Bates (23-10/6-4 NESCAC) at 8 p.m. The semifinals will be played on Saturday at 11 a.m. with the championship match to follow at 3 p.m.
Amherst finished the regular season tied for second place in the NESCAC but settled for the No.3 seed by virtue of a 3-0 conference loss to Williams on September 15. Of the Jeffs' six losses this season, three have come against Wesleyan and two have come against Williams, with the sixth coming against Wellesley College, the top-ranked team in New England.
Amherst - which had won 11 consecutive matches at one point during the season - is led by its two senior captains, setter Meredith DeMeules (Los Angeles, CA) and outside hitter Erica Hewes (Pebble Beach, CA) - both four-year starters who will graduate as the winningest class in school history with a 104-22 overall record entering the weekend. Hewes has tallied over 400 kills in each of her four seasons, including a team-high 416 in 2001. DeMeules has been similarly impressive, but in a wider range of statistical categories, with 2,861 assists, 860 digs, 163 aces, 391 kills and 171 total blocks in the past three seasons combined. They've also led the Jeffs to three consecutive NCAA Tournament berths and NESCAC Championships in each of the past two seasons.
The defending NESCAC Champion Jeffs won their second consecutive conference tournament last season, piling up four-game wins over Tufts in the quarterfinals, Trinity in the semifinals, and Bates - the team they also defeated in the 1999 championship - in the finals. Like this year, Amherst was the third-seeded team in the draw after posting an 8-2 conference record during the regular season.
Four NESCAC teams are ranked among the top schools in the region. Williams, Wesleyan and Amherst are ranked second, third and fourth, consecutively, followed by sixth-ranked Tufts.
First Round/Friday, November 2 at Middlebury College
No. 1 Wesleyan vs. No. 8 Middlebury - 6 p.m. (South Court)
No. 2 Williams vs. No. 7 Trinity - 6 p.m. (North Court)
No. 3 Amherst vs. No. 6 Colby - 8 p.m. (North Court)
No. 4 Tufts vs. No. 5 Bates - 8 p.m. (South Court)
Semifinals/Saturday, November 3 at Middlebury College
Wesleyan/Middlebury winner vs. Tufts/Bates winner - 11 a.m. (South Court)
Amherst/Colby winner vs. Williams/Trinity winner - 11 a.m. (North Court)
Championship/Saturday, November 3 at Middlebury College
Semifinal winners - 3 p.m. (Center Court)