NCAA Preview: Amherst to Host NCAA Women's Tennis Northeast Regional, Saturday and Sunday

April 27, 2004 

AMHERST, MA - The Amherst College women's tennis team earned one of two host seeds for NCAA Division III Northeast Regional play, which begins this Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Amherst College courts. With a 14-3 overall record, the Jeffs drew a first-round bye and, on Sunday, will face the winner of Saturday's first-round match between Bowdoin (12-6) and Middlebury (15-3). The winner will advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals, which, along with the NCAA Semifinals and Finals, will be hosted by Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., May 12-17. This is the fourth straight year the Jeffs have hosted NCAA Regional play. 

Amherst is no stranger to the postseason. Thirteenth-year head coach Jackie Bagwell has led the Jeffs to six consecutive NCAA Quarterfinals, including a string of four straight trips to the NCAA Final Four (from 1998 to 2001), another Final Four appearance in 2003 and the college's first NCAA Team Championship in any sport in 1999. 

The Jeffs are on a roll of late winning four straight matches, including a trio of victories against teams ranked ahead of them in the latest ITA Division III Poll - third-ranked Tufts, sixth-ranked Middlebury and eighth-ranked Williams. Amherst is ranked 11th according to the most recent poll, which was released at the conclusion of the fall season. 

The Jeffs won a share of their first-ever NESCAC Championship on April 18, tying archrival Williams for first place in the team standings on the strength off all-conference performances by first-year Katie Hudson (Los Altos, CA), sophomore Kristen Raverta (W. Springfield, MA), juniors Tristan Hedrick (Walnut Creek, CA) and Rachel Holt (New York, NY) and senior captain Wallis Molchen (Wilmington, DE). Molchen, Holt, Hedrick and Raverta are all repeat All-NESCAC selections. 

Last year, Amherst advanced to its fifth NCAA Final Four in the last six years, held at the University of Redlands (CA), falling to Washington & Lee University, 7-2, in the national semifinals. 

The NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Subcommittee selected the 26 teams that will compete in the NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Championships. 

The teams will play a single-elimination tournament with the first and second rounds played at non-predetermined regional sites. Selection of teams was based on head-to-head competition, won-lost record, strength of schedule, results against common opponents, spring competition with an emphasis on late-season play, consistency of lineup and eligibility and availability of student-athletes. 

The subcommittee selected seven teams from the Atlantic South region, seven from the Central region, seven from the Northeast region and five from the West region. The committee considered team results in collegiate match play from September 1, 2003, until the time of the final selections.