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Women's Soccer, Field Hockey Ready for NESCAC Tournaments
October 22, 2000

AMHERST, Mass. - The Amherst College field hockey and women's soccer teams, who finished their 2000 regular seasons with records of 13-1 and 9-4-1, respectively, have each earned bids to - and home games in - the first-ever New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament in the two sports, with quarterfinal action set to begin on Tuesday afternoon.

In the pairings released on Sunday, the field hockey team, who put the finishing touches on a school-record 13-win regular season with a penalty-stroke victory over Wesleyan University on Saturday, earned the second seed in the seven-team draw. The Jeffs finished with the same 8-1 conference record as top-seed Bowdoin College, but Bowdoin held the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Jeffs, by virtue of their 1-0 overtime victory in the two teams' lone meeting of the season in Maine on September 30.

With the second seed, the Jeffs draw seventh-seeded Middlebury College, the 1998 NCAA Division III champions, who finished the regular season with a record of 6-8, 4-5 in the NESCAC. On October 7 in Vermont, in their lone meeting of the season, the Jeffs defeated Middlebury, 1-0, courtesy of an early second-half goal from Amherst sophomore Abby Ouimet (Hatfield, MA), the Jeffs' leading goal-scorer with eight tallies on the year. Amherst has won six straight games entering Tuesday's quarterfinal, including their latest win, Saturday's dramatic win on penalty strokes that captured the Little III title outright for the Jeffs. The start time for Tuesday's quarterfinal has been tentatively set as 2:00 p.m., but has not yet been finalized.

In other field hockey quarterfinals, sixth-seeded Connecticut College travels to third-seeded Williams, and fifth-seeded Tufts University heads down I-84 to battle fourth-seeded Wesleyan. The winners of Tuesday's three quarterfinals advance to Saturday's semifinals at top-seeded Bowdoin, who receives a first-round bye in the draw.

In the women's soccer draw, Amherst, which closed out a 9-4-1 regular season with a dramatic 2-1 overtime victory at Wesleyan on Saturday, earned the fourth seed in the seven-team field, with top-seeded Middlebury College grabbing the first-round bye and home field for next weekend's semifinals and finals. Because of geographic considerations, the Jeffs, who finished 5-3-1 in conference play, will not host fifth-seeded Bates College (10-4, 5-4 NESCAC). Instead, they will host their arch-rivals, Williams College, in a rematch of the Jeffs' thrilling 1-0 win in Amherst on October 14.

Williams, who finished the regular season with a 9-5 record (4-5 NESCAC), comes into Tuesday's match having lost five of their last six conference matches, after opening the season with a 7-0 record (3-0 NESCAC) that earned them the number-one ranking in the nation. Included in the conference losses is the Jeffs' 1-0 shutout on October 14, with the lone goal coming from Amherst junior Hallison Putnam (Lexington, KY). Tuesday's quarterfinal will mark the 26th all-time meeting between the rivals, in a series deadlocked at 10-10-5. It will also mark the second time in three years that the two teams have met in the postseason. In 1998, the Ephs knocked the Jeffs out of the NCAA Tournament with a 0-0 (4-2) penalty-kick win in the regional semifinals. Start time of the soccer quarterfinal is tentatively set for 1:00 p.m.

Other soccer quarterfinals pair seventh-seeded Colby College at second-seeded Bowdoin and fifth-seeded Bates College at third-seeded Tufts, with the winners advancing to Saturday's semifinals at top-seeded Middlebury College, who earned the first-round bye with a 13-1 regular season record, 8-1 in league play.

Tuesday, October 24, 2000, at Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts
1:00 p.m. - NESCAC Women's Soccer Quarterfinal -- #6 Williams (9-5, 4-5) at #4 Amherst (9-4-1, 5-3-1).

2:00 p.m. - NESCAC Field Hockey Quarterfinal -- #7 Middlebury (6-8, 4-5) at #2 Amherst (13-1, 8-1).