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Amherst College > Athletics > Volleyball > Firedogs Roll to NESCAC Championship
Firedogs Roll to NESCAC Championship, Automatic NCAA Bid
November 4, 2000

Junior Meredith Demeules
had a career-high
55 assists against Trinity
BRUNSWICK, Maine - Apparently, the rest of the NESCAC was barking up the wrong tree. 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 championship. The Firedogs 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 - in the finals en route to the NESCAC title - and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament that goes along with it.

The Firedogs, the third-seeded team in the draw after posting an 8-2 conference record during the regular season, got off to a quick start on Friday night, dispatching with sixth-seeded Tufts University, 15-13, 15-12, 9-15, 15-9. The win set up Saturday's semifinal against seventh-seeded Trinity, who stunned Williams, the two seed in the 11-team draw, with a 3-1 win on Friday.

Against the Bantams, the Firedogs got off to a sluggish start, as Trinity took the first game by a 15-13 margin. Dropping the first game, however, only seemed to rev up the Firedogs, who kicked their play into a higher gear in the ensuing games, cruising to the four-game win with 15-7 triumphs in the second and third games, and a dominant 15-2 thrashing in the fourth.

For Amherst, junior setter Meredith DeMeules (Los Angeles, CA) led the way with an incredible 55-assist, eight-kill performance, her highest assist tally of the season. The Amherst attack also turned in a solid performance against the Bantams, with junior Erica Hewes (Woodside, CA) leading the way with 22 kills. Sophomore Erin Dittus (Brentwood, TN) and Emily Ratcliff (Storrs, CT) combined for 34 kills, as Amherst advanced to a championship match showdown against Bates College, 3-2 victors over top-seeded Middlebury College in the other semifinal.

Once more, however, the Firedogs proved too strong, using a thunderous attack to take game one by a 15-4 margin, before rolling to a 15-7 win in game two. Bates responded with a 15-13 victory in the third game, but Amherst, as was the case all weekend, was just too strong, beating out a 15-5 win in the final game for the conference championship.

In the final, DeMeules led the way again, recording 50 assists along with six kills, and Hewes, Dittus and Ratcliff all finished in double-figures in kills again, posting 19, 12 and 14 strikes, respectively.

With the three wins, the Firedogs improve to 27-4 on the season, heading into their third-consecutive NCAA Tournament, with pairings and sites announced late tomorrow night. In all likelihood, Amherst will be the two-seed in New England, behind national power Wellesley College, with regional action set for next weekend.
Nov. 3-4, 2000 at Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine

NESCAC Quarterfinals
#3 Amherst d. #6 Tufts, 3-1 (15-13, 15-12, 9-15, 15-9)

NESCAC Semifinals
#3 Amherst d. #7 Trinity, 3-1 (13-15, 15-7, 15-7, 15-2)

#3 Amherst d. #4 Bates, 3-1 (15-4, 15-7, 13-15, 15-5) -end-