Jeffs Roll Through Amherst Classic to Remain Perfect in 2007

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College volleyball team hosted day two of the Amherst Classic Saturday, with the first round of matches beginning at 10 a.m. The Lord Jeffs posted the best record of the weekend at a perfect 4-0, followed by Brandeis University at 3-1, Middlebury College at 2-2, Johnson & Wales University at 1-3 and Westfield State College at 0-4.

Amherst used a pair of seven-point runs and led by as many as 12 points to kick things off against Johnson & Wales, as the Jeffs cruised to a 30-21 win in game one. The second game was much more of a back-and-forth battle until the Jeffs broke a 14-14 tie with five consecutive points, eventually pulling away for another 30-21 victory. Game three featured much of the same, as Amherst slowly pulled ahead to close out the match with a 30-18 win.

Senior tri-captain Jaclyn DeMais (Hillsdale, NJ) finished with 10 kills, while junior Claire Holton-Basaldua (San Rafael, CA) added 10 of her own with a solid .667 hitting percentage. Junior Sara Heller (La Canada, CA) finished with 28 assists and eight digs, senior tri-captain Julie Berkley (Fullerton, CA) had a match-high seven service aces and 10 digs, and DeMais added a match-high 17 digs. Berkley's sister, Jackie (Fullerton, CA), continued her domination at the net, as she picked up a pair of solo blocks and assisted on three others.

Leading the way for the Wildcats was the team's trio of senior captains, as Kelle Pfunder finished with 11 kills and seven digs, Audra Vaccari put in a well-balanced performance by racking up five service aces and eight digs to go along with her 25 assists, and Ramona DiFilippo added a team-high 15 digs.

The Lord Jeffs returned to action for a 3 p.m. non-conference match with NESCAC rival Middlebury, and used a quick eight-point run to jump out to a 12-4 lead in game one. The Panthers climbed back to within striking distance, but Amherst scored eight consecutive points to take a 26-16 lead en route to a 30-22 win. Amherst dominated the latter half of game two to pull off a 30-17 win before sealing the match with a nail-biting 30-28 game-three victory, as first-year Erin Camp (Encino, CA) added the finishing touch with a service ace, her fourth of the match.

It was no surprise that DeMais led the pack with 24 kills, adding 15 digs along the way, as Heller added another 36 assists to her season total. Senior tri-captain Whitney Kouvaris (Jacksonville, FL) added 11 kills of her own, while first-year Rachel Yorke (Los Angeles, CA) matched DeMais' dig total of 15. Lauren Barrett racked up another 23 assists for Middlebury, with nine of those kills going to Lexie Fisher and six to Lindsay Patterson. Junior Olivia Minkhorst finished with a team-high 14 digs.

Amherst (11-0/2-0 NESCAC) returns to action Friday, when the Jeffs travel to Wesleyan University for the Wesleyan Invitational.