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Amherst College > Athletics > Field Hockey > Field Hockey Earns Third-Ever Bid to NCAAs
14-2 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, 2000
Saturday:
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)

Sunday:
1:00 p.m. - First semifinal winner vs. second semifinal winner
Click here to see the entire 2000 NCAA Division III Tournament bracket