Top-Seeded Amherst Set to Face No. 2 Williams in NESCAC Finals

AMHERST, MA – Amherst College hosted the semifinal round of the NESCAC Volleyball Championship, as the top-seeded Lord Jeffs took on No. 4 Conn. College and No. 2 Williams College faced No. 3 Tufts University. Amherst avenged a 3-2 regular-season loss to the Camels by advancing with a 3-1 win, while Williams took care of the Jumbos in three games. The Jeffs and Ephs will play for the NESCAC title Sunday at 1 p.m. in LeFrak Gymnasium.

Amherst came out swinging in the first game and cruised to a 30-18 win, but the rest of the match was as evenly matched as advertised. The Jeffs hung on for a 30-26 game-two victory, but the Camels pulled right back with a 30-25 win in game three. The fourth game was a nail-biter as well, but it was Amherst who came out on top with the 30-28 win to secure a spot in Sunday's championship match.

The Jeffs were once again led by the senior tri-captain tandem of Whitney Kouvaris (Jacksonville, FL) and Jaclyn DeMais (Hillsdale, NJ). While DeMais racked up 22 kills and 22 digs, Kouvaris hit at an impressive .377 clip with a match-high 23 kills to pace the attack. Junior Sara Heller (La Canada, CA) had 51 assists and 15 digs for the Jeffs, while first-year Erin Camp (Encino, CA) and senior tri-captain Julie Berkley (Fullerton, CA) each had 14 digs. A pair of Amherst rookies put up impressive numbers, as Jackie Berkley (Fullerton, CA) had a match-high 10 blocks and Rachel Yorke (Los Angeles, CA) came close to a NESCAC championship record by totaling 41 digs.

Sophomores Meg Christman (Wilmington, DE) and Lauren Wise (Oakton, VA) each had 12 kills to lead the Camel attack, with Wise adding 12 digs. First-year Marissa DeMais (Hillsdale, NJ) put in a well-balanced performance by totaling 44 assists, 15 digs and six block assists, while junior co-captain Caitlin Tomaska (Solana Beach, CA) had nine kills and 18 digs, and sophomore Maddy Baldwin chipped in with 12 digs. Amherst improves to 27-3 on the season, while Conn. College falls to 20-8.

In the battle to determine who would play Amherst in Sunday's championship match, Williams earned a 3-0 win over Tufts for the second time of the season, as the Ephs took victories of 30-20, 30-26 and 30-21. The win improved Williams to 26-7 on the year, while Tufts fell to 19-13 with the loss.

Sophomore Melissa Pun (San Francisco, CA) had 11 kills and 22 digs for the Ephs, first-year Nicole Ballon-Landa (La Jolla, CA) added 14 kills and four block assists, and sophomore Alisha Cahlan (Las Vegas, NV) racked up nine kills. First-year Emily Avis (Palo Alto, CA) chalked up 45 assists, while sophomore Chelsea Kubal (Atherton, CA) had 20 digs.  

First-year Dawson Joyce-Mendive (Minden, NV) and junior Stacy Filocco (Olney, MD) each had 12 digs for the Jumbos, while junior Natalie Goldstein (Piedmont, CA) added 19 of her own. Sophomore Brogie Helgeson (Santa Cruz, CA) put down seven kills, junior Kate Denniston (Tarzana, CA) had five kills, and sophomore setter Dana Feiger (Long Grove, IL) finished with 38 assists. 
Friday, Nov. 2 at Amherst College
No. 1 Amherst def. No. 8 Bowdoin, 3-1 (30-22, 30-22, 25-30, 30-22)
No. 2 Williams def. No. 7 Middlebury, 3-0 (30-24, 30-20, 30-21)
No. 3 Tufts def. No. 6 Trinity (30-26, 30-25, 30-23)
No. 4 Conn. def. No. 5 Wesleyan (30-16, 34-32, 30-26)
Saturday, Nov. 3 at Amherst College
No. 1 Amherst def. No. 4 Conn., 3-1 (30-18, 30-26, 25-30, 30-28)
No. 2 Williams def. No. 3 Tufts, 3-0 (30-20, 30-26, 30-21)
Sunday, Nov. 4 at Amherst College
No. 1 Amherst vs. No. 2 Williams – 1 p.m.