Amherst Looks Dominant in 5-0 NESCAC Semifinal Win Over Tufts

Jill Wexler '10 clinched the victory for Amherst by earning a 7-5, 6-2 win at No. 4 singles.

SOUTH HADLEY, MA – The Amherst College women’s tennis team earned a 5-0 win over Tufts University Saturday afternoon in the 2010 NESCAC Championship semifinal round. Originally scheduled to be played in Amherst, Saturday’s semifinal matches were moved indoors to Mount Holyoke College.

The second-seeded and second-ranked Lord Jeffs improve to 16-2 (7-1 NESCAC) and will face top-seeded Williams College Sunday at 9 a.m. in the title match. The third-seeded Jumbos fall to 14-6 (7-2 NESCAC) and will likely receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Facing Tufts in the conference semifinals for the third consecutive year, Amherst replicated the dominant doubles play it displayed in the Apr. 20 regular season meeting with the Jumbos by carrying a 3-0 lead into singles action. Carlissa King ’11 (Bayside, NY) and Caroline Richman ’13 (Pacific Palisades, CA) got things going for Amherst by cruising to an 8-0 win over Jennifer LaCara and Edwina Stewart at No. 3, followed by Jill Wexler ’10 (Beverly, MA) and Natasha Brown ’11 (Woodland Hills, CA) defeating the No. 2 Tufts pairing of Lindsay Katz and Janice Lam, 8-5.

The Jumbos looked as though they would salvage a point when Julia Browne and Meghan McCooey took a 5-2 lead over the Lord Jeffs’ No. 1 duo of Brittany Berckes ’10 (Secaucus, NJ) and Laura Danzig ’12 (Allendale, NY), but momentum quickly shifted when Amherst won the next five games to go ahead, 7-5. Browne and McCooey cut their deficit to one, but the Lord Jeffs wrapped up the doubles sweep by winning the next game for an 8-6 win.  

Danzig was exceptional in her 6-0, 6-2 win over McCooey at No. 2 singles, and Wexler wrapped things up for Amherst by defeating Katz at No. 4, 7-5, 6-2. After Saturday’s dominant performance, Amherst will battle archrival Williams for the conference crown for the fifth consecutive year. The Jeffs have won each of the past five NESCAC titles outright.

The Jeffs won the first set and were leading the second in three of the remaining singles matches when play was stopped. Berckes played some of her best tennis of the season to hold a 7-5, 4-3 lead over Browne in the top singles bout, while Carlissa and Laken King ’11 (Bayside, NY) were knocking on victory’s door against Stewart at No. 3 and LaCara at No. 6, respectively. Each of the Kings won the first set, 6-4, with Carlissa tied at 4-4 and Laken leading, 3-0, in the second. Brown dropped her first set to Lam at No. 5, 6-4, but was leading the second, 3-2.

NESCAC Women's Tennis Championship Semifinals
#2 Amherst College def. #3 Tufts University, 5-0

1) Brittany Berckes/Laura Danzig (A) def. Julia Browne/Meghan McCooey (T), 8-6
2) Jill Wexler/Natasha Brown (A) def. Lindsay Katz/Janice Lam (T), 8-5
3) Carlissa King/Caroline Richman (A) def. Jennifer LaCara/Edwina Stewart (T), 8-0

1) Brittany Berckes (A) leading Julia Browne (T) 7-5, 4-3
2) Laura Danzig (A) def. Meghan McCooey (T) 6-0, 6-2
3) Carlissa King (A) leading Edwina Stewart (T) 6-4, 4-4
4) Jill Wexler (A) def. Lindsay Katz (T) 7-5, 6-2
5) Janice Lam (T) leading Natasha Brown (A) 6-4, 2-3
6) Laken King (A) leading Jennifer LaCara (T) 6-4, 3-0