Berckes and Danzig Win 2009 NEWITTs

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AMHERST, MA - The Amherst College women's tennis team entered seven full pairings into the 2009 New England Women's Intercollegiate Tennis Tournament this weekend, with the top duo of Brittany Berckes (Secaucus, NJ) and Laura Danzig (Allendale, NJ) winning the Gail Smith Division (A Flight) of the competition.  In the Chris Davis Division (B Flight), Amherst's seventh entry of Kate Paul and Jen Kim fell in the championship match to a team from Williams.

The NEWITT Tournament uses a unique format, in which teammates play a doubles set, followed by two singles matches against a common pair of opposition for a total of three points to determine which pairing will advance in the bracket. Berckes and Danzig entered the tournament as the top overall seed, and received a bye in the Round of 64.

In their first match of the tournament, the Lord Jeff pair defeated Middlebury's third team of Aleigh McAtee and Hilary Cunningham 3-0. In the Round of 16, Berckes and Danzig topped Bowdoin's Brett Davis and Nikki Kuna 3-0, setting up a matchup against Williams' second team.

In the quartefinal match, Amherst edged their 7th-seeded archrivals Nikki Reich and Taylor French 2-1 to earn a spot in the semifinal round. In the semi, Berckes and Danzig finally ran up against a top entry from a school in Middlebury's fifth-seeded pairing of Tori Aiello and Jamie Haar 3-0.

In the final this afternoon, Berckes and Danzig took on MIT's Leslie Hansen and Anastasia Vishnevetsky. In the doubles match, the Amherst pairing won with a commanding 8-2 score over the Engineers. In the singles matches, Berckes edged Hansen 7-6, 7-5, and Danzig topped Vishnevetsky 6-0, 6-3 to give the Lord Jeffs the title.

Paul and Kim also received a bye in the Round of 64, before topping teams from Smith, Bates, Brandeis and Bowdoin all 3-0 to punch a ticket for the finals. The Amherst pair squared off against Caroline Capute and Veranika Li from Williams in the finals. The Eph pairing ended Amherst's bid for a sweep of both flights, taking the doubles match 8-3, before Capute edged Paul 6-0, 6-1 and Li topped Kim 6-1, 6-1.

Berckes and Danzig have now won back-to-back tournaments after winning the three-day Gail Smith Doubles Tournament at Middlebury last weekend. Amherst will not play again this fall, and will open the spring schedule during spring break.