Four Amherst Players Earn All-NESCAC Honors; Berckes Named Player of the Year

From a NESCAC Release

AMHERST, MA – Amherst College sophomore Brittany Berckes (Seacaucus, NJ) has been selected by the conference coaches as the 2008 NESCAC Women's Tennis Player of the Year, and is one of four Lord Jeff men's and women's tennis players to receive All-Conference recognition this year.

Berckes helped her team win the 2008 NESCAC Women's Tennis Championship last weekend, the fourth outright NESCAC title and fifth overall for the Lord Jeffs. She is the third Amherst player over the last four years to win the league's top honor.

Berckes also received All-NESCAC recognition for the second year in a row. A Second Team Singles selection in her 2007 rookie season, Berckes moved up to the First Team Singles in 2008 on the strength of a 14-5 record so far this year, including a 9-1 mark over her last 10 matches.

Berckes repeated as a First Team Doubles member with senior partner and three-time All-NESCAC honoree Alicia Menezes (Staten Island, NY). After winning the NCAA doubles title last May, the dynamic duo has combined to go 17-2 during the 2007-08 campaign as part of a 15-1 season for Amherst.

For their successful 2008 seasons, Berckes and Menezes have once again been selected to compete at the national level. While the two will team up to defend their title against 15 other pairs in the NCAA Doubles Championship Tournament, Berckes will also be one of 32 players competing for a singles title.

On the men's side, junior Zack Lerner (Scarsdale, NY) earned a spot on the All-Conference First Team for the second consecutive season. Although Lerner was 11-9 in singles play at the #1 position this season, he closed out the year by winning six of his last seven matches, including a straight-set victory in the first round of the NESCAC Championship that helped lift the Lord Jeffs past the Ephs 5-4 and snap a losing streak dating back to 1995.

Rounding out the Amherst All-Conference recipients and earning NESCAC postseason honors for the first time is senior Mike Mintz (New York, NY), who landed a spot on the Second Team for his singles play. Mintz posted an overall record of 9-7 and spent most of his time at the #2 position, as he went 6-6 as the Jeffs' No. 2 player, 1-1 as the No. 1, and 2-0 as the No. 3.

Lerner will join Berckes and Menezes at the national tournaments, as he has once again been selected to compete in the NCAA Singles Championship Tournament in May. The Amherst women's tennis team returns to action Saturday, May 3 for the second round of the NCAA Championship. The Jeffs will take on either Skidmore of Suffolk Saturday at 11 a.m. in Amherst.