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Meredith DeMeules '02
Senior All-NESCAC setter Meredith DeMeules

Amherst Volleyball Eyes Third Straight NESCAC Championship

September 5, 2001

After a dominating regular season, the Amherst volleyball team - conference champions in 1999 after an incredible three-match, nine-game sweep of the league tournament - rolled through the 2000 NESCAC Postseason Championship. Head Coach Sue Everden's crew piled up four-game wins over Tufts University in the quarterfinals, Trinity College in the semifinals, and Bates College - the team they defeated in the 1999 championship - en route to the NESCAC title and an automatic bid to their third consecutive Division III NCAA Championship Tournament. Despite falling to Bates in the New England Regional quarterfinals, Amherst capped its season with a 27-5 overall record, an 8-2 conference mark, the 16th best winning percentage (.844) in the nation and a three-match sweep of Wesleyan University and Williams College for the outright Little Three Championship. Along the way, the team posted a pair of eight-match winning streaks and won 16 of its first 17 matches, with 12 of those victories coming by way of 3-0 shutout.

First-Team All-NESCAC setter Meredith DeMeules '02 led the way with a whopping 1,060 saves (9.22/gm.) and was twice named the conference's Player of the Week: once after tallying 154 assists (9.06/gm.) and 55 digs (3.24/gm.) as Amherst rolled to a 5-0 record to start the season, and a second time after leading Amherst to a three-match sweep in the NESCAC Tournament. Second-Team All-NESCAC outside hitter Erica Hewes '02 was similarly impressive, finishing third in the NESCAC with 433 kills in 115 games (3.77/gm.), while first-year middle hitter Lauren Wong led the conference in blocks with 138 in 103 games (1.34/gm.). Senior outside hitter Liza Abeles also finished tenth in the NESCAC with 73 blocks in 93 games (0.78/gm.).

Erica Hewes '02
All-NESCAC Outside Hitter Erica Hewes

2001 should be another banner year as Head Coach Sue Everden returns 10 players from last season's NESCAC Championship roster, including All-NESCAC seniors Meredith DeMeules and Erica Hewes at setter and outside hitter. The offense runs through DeMeules, who will once spread the wealth among a bevy of talented hitters, including Hewes, who posted a team-high 433 kills last season. Junior outside hitter Erin Dittus, sophomore middle hitter/middle blocker Lauren Wong and sophomore outside hitter Jessica Allen also return after each tallying over 100 kills in 2000. Defensively, Wong and Hewes finished first and second on the team in blocks last season, while DeMeules, Allen and junior defensive specialists Irene Lee and Missy Mordy combined for 826 digs. Additionally, newcomers Nicole Davidson, Annie Hoeksma and Greta Anderson will look to contribute as first-years, while sophomores Natalie Brooks and Martha Buck return with a year of postseason experience under their belts.

As the two-time defending NESCAC Champion, Amherst will be a marked team in one of the most competitive Division III conferences in the nation. The NESCAC sent five teams to the postseason in 2000, including ECAC Champion Wesleyan University and tournament participants Williams College and Middlebury College, while Bates College and Amherst squared off in last year's NCAA New England Regional quarterfinals. Aside from a tough conference slate, Amherst will host a pair of tournaments, the Amherst Volleyball Classic (Sept. 21-22) and the Amherst Invitational (Sept. 28-29), as well as this year's Little Three Tournament on Oct. 27.