Amherst Women's Tennis, Lacrosse Teams Vie for Respective National Championships this Week

May 13, 2003 

AMHERST, MA - After advancing through their respective NCAA Tournaments with resounding wins in regional play, the Amherst College women's tennis and women's lacrosse teams will each vie for a coveted national championship this week. The women's tennis team, ranked fourth in the latest ITA national poll, opens play in the NCAA Elite Eight - hosted by the University of Redlands (CA) - Wednesday at 1 p.m., with a quarterfinal matchup against sixth-ranked DePauw University. The third-ranked women's lacrosse team has advanced all the way to the NCAA Semifinals - hosted by St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY - and will face the second-ranked College of New Jersey, Saturday at 11:30 a.m. 

Head coach Jackie Bagwell's women's tennis team hosted one of two NCAA Northeast Regionals, held Saturday and Sunday, May 3-4, at the Amherst College courts. After drawing a first-round bye, the Jeffs dismantled 18th-ranked Vassar College, 9-0, earning their sixth consecutive trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals. A win over DePauw on Wednesday would set up an NCAA Semifinal matchup against either Washington & Lee or Pomona-Pitzer, Thursday at 1 p.m. The NCAA Finals are set for Friday at 2 p.m. 

The Jeffs (14-3) have beaten two of the seven teams joining them at the University of Redlands, downing two-time defending national champion Williams College twice, once in the fall and once in the spring, and upending Pomona-Pitzer, 6-3, during their spring trip to California. Amherst fell to Emory University at last year's NCAA Elite Eight, 6-3. 

First-year sensation Kristen Raverta (W. Springfield, MA) was named both the NESCAC and ITA Northeast Rookie of the Year this spring, heading a list of seven Amherst players to earn All-NESCAC honors, including first-team selection Tristan Hedrick (Walnut Creek, CA), and second-team picks Rachel Holt (New York, NY), Roopali Agarwal (Boxford, MA), Hadley Miller (Lancaster, PA), Wallis Molchen (Wilmington, DE) and Erin Murphy (Yonkers, NY). Hedrick was a first-team singles and second-team doubles selection after earning second-team singles honors last season. 

The women's tennis team won the College's first and only NCAA Team Championship in any sport in 1999 and is making its ninth straight NCAA Tournament appearance. The Jeffs advanced at least to the NCAA Semifinals for four straight seasons from 1998 to 2001. 

At 16-2, the women's lacrosse team has had only one true nemesis this season, three-time defending national champion Middlebury College. The top-ranked Panthers, who face William Smith College Saturday at 2 p.m. in the other NCAA semifinal, handed the Jeffs their only two losses this season, including a 9-5 setback in the NESCAC Championship game. 

However, head coach Christine Paradis' club rebounded with a 20-9 win over SUNY Cortland and a 12-5 victory over host Gettysburg College in NCAA Regional play, earning its third straight and fourth overall trip to the Final Four. The Jeffs reached the national championship game in both 1999 and 2001, falling to Middlebury both times. Amherst was eliminated by the College of New Jersey in last year's NCAA Semifinals, 10-7. 

Amherst placed five players on the 2003 All-NESCAC Team; senior attacker Abby Ouimet (Hatfield, MA) and junior midfielder Liz Martin (Baltimore, MD) were first-team selections, while junior midfielder Allison Aldrich (Cornwall, VT), senior defender Annie Jamieson (Princeton, NJ) and senior goaltender Brooke Diamond (Longmeadow, MA) earned second-team honors. 

The winners of Saturday's two semifinal matchups will advance to the national finals Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Tickets for all three games can be purchased for $10, while individual game tickets are $6. All tickets will be sold at the main gate prior to the games.