CAMBRIDGE, MA – The Amherst College volleyball team traveled to MIT this afternoon for its NCAA opening round match against Rivier College. In a rematch of the Jeffs' season-opener, Amherst looked to repeat the result of a Sept. 8, 20073-1 win. Amherst did itself one better with a 3-0 sweep to advance to the second round, which takes place Friday at 4:30 against the winner of the Williams-Endicott match.
The two sides played very evenly for the first half of game one, with each team trading points and no one able to string together a run. With Amherst trailing 16-14, first-year Jackie Berkley (Fullerton, CA) served for the Jeffs as they ran off six straight points. Rivier responded to tie the game at 20 once again, but from that point on Amherst out-scored the Raiders 10-5 for a first game 30-25 win.
In the second game of the match, Amherst rallied off the late-game momentum from game one to burst out to a 14-8 lead and force Rivier to call a timeout. Despite the break in play, Amherst ran off another five straight points to expand its lead to 19-8. The two sides alternated points for a brief rally before the Jeffs had the Raiders doubled up at 26-13, and on the verge of taking a two-games-to-none advantage. Amherst ultimately closed out the game 30-17 and headed forward with a three-game sweep in sight.
The third game of the night was much more competitive than the previous, as Amherst clung to a 9-8 edge with junior setter Sara Heller (La Canada, CA) serving. The Jeffs continued to roll throughout the rest of the game and closed out the sweep, 30-19. Despite dropping the first game in the earlier meeting this season, Amherst has won the last six games between the two schools.
Leading the attack for Amherst once again were senior tri-captains Jaclyn DeMais (Hillsdale, NJ) and Whitney Kouvaris (Jacksonville, FL). DeMais led all players with 15 kills, five digs and two aces. Kouvaris chipped in with 11 kills, while Heller dished out 38 assists in the sweep. Amherst combined for 10 services aces in the match, while they played clean with just three receiving errors.
Amherst advances to the second round, and should the seedings hold true, Amherst and Williams will meet for the third time this season, with the series at 1-1.