Class of 2007
Photo by Sam Masinter '04
Junior Jaclyn DeMais helped the Jeffs cruise past Trinity to the NESCAC semifinals by recording 13 kills and 14 digs

Jeffs Advance to Semifinals with 3-0 Win Over Trinity

November 3 , 2006

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – Fresh off back-to-back drubbings of Middlebury and Hamilton Colleges, the third-seeded Amherst College women’s volleyball team traveled to dominate sixth-ranked Trinity College in the NESCAC Championship quarterfinal round, hosted by top seed Williams College. Amherst took its tournament opener in a three-game set, 30-14, 30-18, 30-26.

Amherst started off strong in the first game: junior hitter Whitney Kouvaris (Jacksonville, FL) pounded a ball into the Bantam court to move the Jeffs to 2-0, sparking a 7-2 Amherst run that forced a Trinity timeout. The Bantams took back some of the momentum and inched the score to 9-6, but Amherst quickly opened up a 16-7 lead and never looked back.

Sophomore hitter Hannah Wirth (Pacific Palisades, CA) led off the second game with a kill, and senior co-captain hitter Kristin Quinn (Pacific Palisades, CA) followed it up with a block to start the Jeffs at 2-0 again. Trinity put up an early fight, and came back twice to trail by only one point; it found some fire and pushed the Jeffs to 18-15. But Amherst smelled blood: sophomore setter Sara Heller (La Canada, CA) took serve, and opened up a 21-16 lead. Trinity called for a huddle, down by eight at 24-16; Amherst stayed strong though, and took the game with four unanswered points.

Trinity wouldn’t fold that easily, though. The Bantams took a 4-6 lead in the third game, before junior hitter Jaclyn DeMais (Hillsdale, NJ) tied the score at six with a soft kill. Trinity fired back with a point; but Amherst knotted the score again at seven, and then again at eight. Trinity tried to pull away with an 8-11 lead, but Amherst hung in there, moving the score to 13-14 on a DeMais smash, and 17-18 on a Kouvaris liner. Amherst finally took the lead for the first time at 23-22 off a Trinity miscue. DeMais breathed fire late in the game and crushed the ball into the Trinity backcourt for a 25-23 advantage, placing the Jeffs out of Trinity’s reach once and for all.

DeMais and Quinn had head-turning nights for Amherst: DeMais registered 13 kills and 14 digs, and Quinn tag-teamed with 14 kills and six blocks. Kouvaris, meanwhile, paid her way with seven kills. First-year defensive specialist Bethany Belisle (Austin, TX) and junior defensive specialist Julie Berkley (Fullerton, CA) prowled Amherst’s backcourt, coming up with nine and 15 digs, respectively.

In other tournament action, Williams took down eighth-seeded Middlebury, 3-1, despite a late Panther push that would have tied the match at 2-2. Second-ranked Wesleyan University dismantled seventh-ranked Bowdoin College, 3-1. The match between fourth-seeded Connecticut College and fifth-ranked Tufts University, meanwhile, ended too late for this release.

Amherst will vie for a spot in the conference championship match when it takes on Wesleyan University Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Amherst fell to Wesleyan early in the season, 3-2, but silenced the Cardinals just two weeks later, 3-0.