No. 3 Amherst Holds Off No. 6 Conn 3-2 in NESCAC Quarterfinals

From a Tufts University Release

 With Tufts entering the post-season as the only NESCAC team expected to grab an at-large bid should they not win the conference tournament, Amherst would need to pick up three wins to keep its  season alive.MEDFORD, MA - The third-seeded Amherst College volleyball team (21-7, 8-2 NESCAC) held off sixth-seeded Connecticut College (18-12, 6-4 NESCAC) for a 3-2 win in the quarterfinal round of the 2008 NESCAC Championship Tournament at Tufts University this evening. The Lord Jeffs defeated the Camels 18-25, 25-14, 25-17, 19-25, 15-11 to keep their season alive. Amherst will face Wesleyan in the semifinal round tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.

After dropping the opening set, Amherst rolled to two convincing wins in a row. The Lord Jeffs took a 2-1 lead over the Camels, before falling in the fourth set to knot things up at 2-2. Amherst used some trademark defense from senior middle-hitter Hannah Wirth (Pacific Palisades, CA) and sophomore Jackie Berkley (Fullerton, CA) to pull out a 15-11 fifth set win.

Amherst was paced by three hitters in doubles figures for kills. Senior Claire Holton-Basaldua (San Rafael, CA) had 21 with just two errors and first-year Katherine Kanoff (Pacific Palisades, CA) finished with 15 kills. The Lord Jeffs likewise had a number of players getting it done on the defensive end, including 28 digs by sophomore Rachel Yorke (Los Angeles, CA). Kanoff also handled 26 receiving attempts perfectly and had 14 digs. Sophomore Jackie Berkley (Fullerton, CA) went up for five blocks (three solos).

On the Camels side, 16 kills by big-hitter Amy Newman (Los Angeles, CA) led the way offensively, with senior Caitlin Tomaska (Solana Beach, CA) contributing 12. Newman and Tomaska also did a fine job on defense side. Newman recorded six block assists and Tomaska had a team-high 15 digs and no receiving errors in 22 attempts. The Camels finished with 10 team blocks.

With the win, Amherst advances to tomorrow's semifinal round of play. The Jeffs will face 2nd-seeded Wesleyan University after the Cardinals defeated No. 7 Bowdoin 3-1 tonight.

Amherst has suffered a pair of loses to Wesleyan this season, with a 3-1 defeat at Wesleyan just one week ago. The Lord Jeffs will need to win in order to keep their season going.

~All Amherst matches viewable via webcast on JumboCast~

Quarterfinals - Friday, Nov. 7 at Tufts
No. 1 Tufts DEF. No. 8 Bates 3-1
No. 2 Wesleyan DEF. No. 7 Bowdoin 3-1
No. 3 Amherst DEF. No. 6 Connecticut College 3-2
No. 4 Williams DEF. No. 5 Middlebury 3-1

Semifinals - Saturday, Nov. 8 at Tufts
No. 1 Tufts vs. No. 4 Williams - 1:00 p.m.
No. 3 Amherst vs. No. 2 Wesleyan - 3:30 p.m. 

Championship - Sunday, Nov. 9 at Tufts
Semifinal winners - 12:00 p.m.