Amherst Defeats Skidmore 5-0 in NCAA Second Round

AMHERST, MA – The third-ranked Amherst College women’s tennis team took on the Thoroughbreds of Skidmore College this morning indoors at Mount Holyoke College in the Second Round of the 2008 NCAA Division III Tournament. The Lord Jeffs picked up a solid 5-0 win to advance to tomorrow’s 12:30 p.m. third round match, where they will await the winner of this afternoon’s bout between Vassar and Bowdoin.

In doubles action, Amherst grabbed a 1-0 team lead after the pairing of first-year Natasha Brown (Woodland Hills, CA) and sophomore Jill Wexler (Beverly, MA) rolled for an 8-1 win at number two. Amherst’s defending national champion pairing of senior captain Alicia Menezes (Staten Island, NY) and sophomore NESCAC Player of the Year Brittany Berckes (Secaucus, NJ) followed shortly after with an 8-2 win of their own at the top doubles spot.

In the number three doubles match, the Skidmore pairing of senior Kyra Travis (Lincoln, MA) and sophomore Laura Attley (Chatham, NJ) held leads over Amherst seniors Laura Stein (Rockport, ME) and Jen Murphy (Simsbury, CT) at 1-0, and 2-1, before falling behind 3-2. After Amherst opened up a small lead, the sides traded serves, leaving the Jeffs up 7-4, and Murphy serving for the match. After facing match point, Attley and Travis rallied back to force a single deuce before falling 8-4.

In NCAA Tournament play, matches are played to decision to help preserve student-athletes for the next round of competition. With this rule in effect, Amherst needed just a pair of the six singles bouts to win the match. The first such win came from the number six match, as Amherst’s Brown took a convincing 6-1, 6-0 result over Skidmore’s Caroline Sherman (Edina, MN).

The clinching match for Amherst came as first-year Laken King (Laurelton, NY) defeated Skidmore’s Abrams in the five spot. King took a 6-2, 6-1 win to halt the four remaining matches in progress, all of which the Jeffs were leading.

With the win, Amherst improves to 16-1, while Skidmore’s season comes to an end at 12-6. The two teams are likely to meet down the road in upcoming seasons as both schools have a plenty of impressive young talent on this season’s rosters.

Amherst College 5 : Skidmore College 0 – Amherst, MA – Saturday, May 3, 2008
Doubles
1) Menezes/Berckes (A) def. Fancher/Loeb (S) 8-2
2) Brown/Wexler (A) def. Grabler/Abrams (S) 8-1
3) Stein/Murphy (A) def. Travis/Attley (S) 8-4
Singles
1) Brittany Berckes (A) leading Rachel Loeb (S) 6-3, 4-0
2) Jill Wexler (A) leading Dani Fancher (S) 6-4, 3-3
3) Alicia Menezes (A) leading Jenny Grabler (S)  0-6, 6-2, 1-0
4) Monica Snyder (A) leading Laura Attley (S) 6-4, 2-4
5) Laken King (A) def. Stephanie Abrams (S) 6-2, 6-1
6) Natasha Brown (A) def. Caroline Sherman (S) 6-1, 6-0