Field Hockey Earns NCAA Bid, Set to Host Weekend Regional|
October 30, 2000
AMHERST, Mass. - Despite Saturday's NESCAC semifinal loss to arch-rival Williams
College, the Amherst College field hockey team learned late Sunday night
that, after a school-record 13-1 regular season, they not only earned their second
consecutive NCAA Tournament bid, but also the honor of hosting one of the
tournament's four regionals, including semifinals next Saturday and finals on
Sunday. The Jeffs, national finalists one season ago, finished the regular season
ranked fourth in the nation in National Field Hockey Coaches Association poll, and
join Lebanon Valley College, Rowan University and Springfield College as the four
host seeds in this year's 18-team draw.
In Saturday's regional semifinal, the Jeffs draw a familiar opponent in 12-4
SUNY-Cortland (Cortland State). The Red Dragons joined the Jeffs as the two surprise
teams in last year's NCAA Final Four after stunning Lebanon Valley in the regional
finals, before Amherst knocked them out of the tournament with a 2-0 victory at the
College of New Jersey. The Jeffs advanced to their first-ever Final Four last year
with a dramatic, come-from-behind 4-3 penalty-stroke victory over Skidmore College
in their regional final.
Saturday's other NCAA regional semifinal at Amherst pits 16-1 William Smith College
against the winner of Wednesday's first round pairing between Plymouth State College
(15-4) and New England College (14-2), who each received automatic bids as the
champions of the Little East and Commonwealth Coast Conferences, respectively.
The Jeffs received one of two at-large bids to the 18-team draw, with conference
partner Williams receiving the other. All told, three NESCAC
teams, including conference champion Bowdoin College, received invitations to the
18-team field, with no other conference in the nation represented more than once.
This is the first time in the history of the Division III field hockey championship
that any conference has been represented so heavily. The Ephs (14-3) will travel to
New Jersey next weekend for a first-round pairing against Ithaca College (10-6),
while Bowdoin (15-1) travels to Springfield where they face the host Pride in
another Saturday semifinal.
The other semifinal at Springfield pits Johns Hopkins University (17-4) against the
defending NCAA champions, the College of New Jersey (12-3), who defeated the Jeffs
in last year's NCAA title game. At Rowan, the hosts meet the winner of Wednesday's
first-round game between Denison University (12-7) and Eastern College of
Pennsylvania (18-4) in the other semifinal. The only NESCAC-less regional takes
place at Lebanon Valley, where the hosts (17-2) face Eastern Mennonite College
(16-4) in one semifinal, and 15-3 Salisbury State faces off against 14-3 William
Patterson in the other. The eight semifinal winners on Saturday advance to Sunday's
regional championship games, all at the same sites, with those four winners
advancing to the Final Four, to be held the following weekend on the campus of one
of the remaining teams.
This marks the third NCAA berth for Amherst field hockey and Head Coach Chris
Paradis. Before last year's dramatic run to the NCAA championship game, the Jeffs
also earned an NCAA bid in 1996, falling to William Smith, 4-3, in the only meeting
between the two programs. The tentative start times for Saturday's semifinals are
11:00 a.m. for William Smith vs. the Plymouth State/New England College winner, and
2:00 p.m. for Cortland State vs. Amherst. Finalized start times will be released
later this week, along with a more in-depth preview of the regional.
NCAA Regionals, at Amherst College, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 4 and 5,
11:00 a.m. - William Smith College (16-1) vs. Plymouth State College (15-4)/New
England College (14-2) Winner
2:00 p.m. - Cortland State (12-4) at Amherst College (14-2)
1:00 p.m. - First semifinal winner vs. second semifinal winner
Click here to see the entire 2000
NCAA Division III Tournament bracket