May 08, 2001
AMHERST, MA - Amherst College has been selected as a Northeast Regional site for first and second round matches of the NCAA Division III Women's Tennis National Championship Tournament this Saturday and Sunday. The top-seeded Jeffs will host NESCAC rival Wesleyan University and Skidmore College, which will meet in the first round Saturday at noon for the right to play Amherst in the second round on Sunday, also at noon.
Amherst enters the tournament as the top-ranked team in the nation according to the latest WingspanBank.com Collegiate Tennis Rankings, based on results through April 2. Led by senior NESCAC Player of the Year Jamie Cohen, the Jeffs posted an 8-1 record this spring (with their only loss coming at Division I power Cal St. Fullerton on March 20), before finishing second to archrival Williams College at the inaugural NESCAC Championship Tournament. Cohen, who won the NCAA singles championship last year while leading the Jeffs to the national semifinals, began the season as the top-rated singles player in the East and part of the region's third ranked doubles team. 10th year head coach Jackie Bagwell has led the Jeffs to three consecutive NCAA Final Four appearances and produced back-to-back national singles champions in Cohen and recent graduate Neely Steinberg '99.
Meanwhile, Wesleyan is enjoying the finest season of its 27-year history. With only one winning campaign (6-4 in 1978-79) among its first 22 seasons, the Cardinals now boast five consecutive winning seasons with a 51-22 mark over the stretch and five top-five finishes at the New England Division III Tournament. This year's 14-3 record eclipsed the 13-3 mark set by Wesleyan's 1998-99 team for most wins in a season. With just one senior, the Cardinals figure to remain a force in the region for years to come.
While Wesleyan is relatively new to the postseason, Skidmore is making its seventh straight trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Thoroughbreds-who won the event in 1998-claimed their seventh straight New York State Women's Collegiate Athletic Association Championship and sixth consecutive Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association Title this spring. Senior Amy Wachenheim is the team's number one player, earning All-America honors after winning the ITCA Regionals last fall.
The NCAA Team Championship comprises 26 teams in a single-elimination tournament with the first and second rounds played at non-predetermined regional sites. The quarterfinal, semifinal and final rounds will be played at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, May 18-20. Teams were selected from four regions (Atlantic South, Central, Northeast and West) based on won-lost record, strength of schedule and eligibility and availability of student-athletes.