Lord Jeffs Knocked Out of NCAA Individual Championships

The outstanding career of Brittany Berckes '10 came to a close Saturday afternoon.

OBERLIN, OH/FREDERICKSBURG, VA – Amherst College tennis standouts Austin Chafetz ’12 (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA) and Brittany Berckes ’10 (Secaucus, NJ) each won a quarterfinal match Saturday morning in their respective NCAA Singles Championships, but neither was able to advance to Sunday’s title match. In doubles action, Berckes and Laura Danzig ’12 (Allendale, NY) saw their season come to a close with a hard-fought loss in the quarterfinal round.

After winning a pair of matches on Friday, Chafetz kept rolling with a three-set win over Bowdoin College’s Stephen Sullivan in Saturday morning’s quarterfinals. Sullivan had defeated Chafetz in come-from-behind fashion during the regular season, but the recently named ITA National Player to Watch returned the favor with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory today.

As the No. 2 seed in the tournament, Chafetz would next be matched up with fifth-seeded Chris Goodwin of Emory in the semifinals. Chafetz defeated Emory’s Dillon Pottish—the tournament’s No. 1 seed and Emory’s top player—in the quarterfinals of the team championship, but Goodwin came away with the 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 win to avenge his teammate. The setback snapped Chafetz’s impressive 11-match win streak.

Berckes had a similar experience in the women’s singles tournament, using a pair of wins on Friday to advance to Saturday morning’s quarterfinal round. Amherst’s top player was paired against Williams College’s Kristin Alotta, who had defeated Berckes in straight sets earlier in the year during the ITA New England Region Championships. After winning her first set, 7-5, Berckes punched her ticket to the semifinals by taking the second set, 6-4.

As Amherst’s first singles player to advance to the national semifinals since Kristen Raverta ’06 finished as the runner-up in 2006, Berckes finally met her match in third-seeded Julia Browne of Tufts University. The two NESCAC stars met twice earlier in the year, with Browne winning the regular season showdown and Berckes holding a 7-5, 4-3 lead when play was stopped in the conference semifinals. Browne would come out on top this time around (6-2, 6-0) in what would be the final singles match of Berckes’ storied career.

Berckes and Danzig ’12 advanced to Saturday’s quarterfinal round of the doubles tournament with a hard-fought 7-5, 7-6 win over a pair from Chapman, but they would end their season with a loss by the same score to Kristin Cobb and Marta Drane of Denison. Trailing 6-5 in the second set, the Lord Jeffs battled back to force a tiebreaker but would fall in the extra frame, 7-2.

The NESCAC has flexed its muscles on the national stage this year, claiming both the men’s and women’s national team titles for the fourth time. Four of the eight quarterfinalists and two of the four semifinalists in the men’s singles tournament also hailed from the NESCAC. On the women’s side, the conference was represented by four of the eight quarterfinalists and three of the four semifinalists in the singles bracket, with Browne of Tufts and Grace Baljon of Williams set to compete Sunday morning for the title.  

Saturday’s results marked the end of an outstanding career for Berckes, who posted a 48-22 singles record and 57-23 doubles mark in dual match play during her four years with the Lord Jeffs. In addition to the numerous All-America and All-NESCAC honors, Berckes helped the Jeffs post a 76-12 record and win four conference titles. As a first-year and sophomore, she won the national doubles title with Alicia Menezes ’08. Berckes has been nominated to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America Team, which will be announced in June.

For a complete recap of this week's NCAA Team and Individual Championships, visit Amherst's men's and women's championship websites.

Amherst College Men’s Championship Results
(Played at Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH)
First Round (Doubles)
Evan Goff/Kaz Murata (Mary Washington) def. Austin Chafetz/Robby Sorrel (Amherst) 6-3, 6-4
First Round (Singles)
Austin Chafetz (Amherst) def. Juan Carlos Perez-Borja (Grinnell) 6-2, 6-4
Mark Kahan (Amherst) def. Mikey Lim (Claremont) 4-6, 6-2, 7-6
Second Round (Singles)
Austin Chafetz (Amherst) def. Tommy Meyer (Pomona) 7-5, 6-4
John Watts (Wash. U) def. Mark Kahan (Amherst) 6-3, 6-0
Quarterfinals (Singles)
Austin Chafetz (Amherst) def. Stephen Sullivan (Bowdoin) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
Semifinals (Singles)
Chris Goodwin (Emory) def. Austin Chafetz (Amherst) 6-2, 2-6, 6-3

Amherst College Women’s Championship Results
(Played at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA)
First Round (Doubles)
Brittany Berckes/Laura Danzig (Amherst) def. Liz Lewis/Kelley Fox (Chapman) 7-5, 7-6(3)
Quarterfinals (Doubles)
Kristin Cobb/Marta Drane (Denison) def. Brittany Berckes/Laura Danzig (Amherst) 7-5, 7-6(2)
First Round (Singles)
Brittany Berckes (Amherst) def.  Ellen Yeatman (Washington & Lee) 6-2, 6-1
Jennifer Kung (Chicago) def. Laura Danzig (Amherst) 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-3
Second Round (Singles)
Brittany Berckes (Amherst) def. Kendra Higgins (Chicago) 7-5, 0-6, 7-5
Quarterfinals (Singles)
Brittany Berckes (Amherst) def. Kristin Alotta (Williams) 7-5, 6-4
Semifinals (Singles)
Julia Browne (Tufts) def. Brittany Berckes (Amherst) 6-2, 6-0