Spring Season: Sports Recaps
Issue   |   Fri, 05/18/2012 - 13:29
Photo courtesy of Megan Robertson '15

After a solid 7-3 start in Florida, the Jeffs posted a strong regular season showing en route to their second consecutive NESCAC West Division Championship. For the most part, they featured a well-balanced attack of potent offense, consistent pitching and tight defense.

With an overall record of 23-10 and a 10-2 mark in NESCAC play, including sweeps of Little III rivals Williams and Wesleyan, the squad seemed poised to capture a league title. For the second consecutive year, however, the Jeffs faltered in the playoffs, exiting early with back-to-back losses to Bowdoin (who eliminated the Jeffs in 2011) and Williams.

Despite its disappointing end, the 2013 season was marked by some notable individual performances. The 2013 Jeffs will certainly miss heavy-hitting DH Kevin Heller ’12, the program’s all-time hits leader who has received attention from professional scouts. The absence of two-sport star Mike Samela ’12, who hit a combined .377 and accounted for 29 extra-base hits and 59 RBI’s, will also leave a significant hole in the Amherst lineup.

Still, pitching standouts Bob Cook ’13 and John Cook ’15, who combined for nine wins, will both return next year — along with promising lefthander Fred Shepard ’14 — and the Jeffs should have a strong chance at playoff revenge.

The Lady Jeffs, who entered the spring season with high expectations, did not disappoint, winning two events and providing tremendous optimism about the future of the program. In their first action of the spring, the Lady Jeffs won the Vassar Invitational, besting Middlebury by a tight margin of four strokes. Liz Monty ’13 posted a day two low of 77 and narrowly lost the top individual spot to the Panthers’ Flora Weeks in a two-hole playoff. Behind her were Laura Monty ’12 and Elaine Lin ’12, who tied for fourth at 165.

Following this successful weekend, the Lady Jeffs hosted the Jack Leaman Championship and managed to hold off Williams for their second consecutive victory.

The team held an eight-stroke lead after day one, and, even with an impressive 319 on day two, the Ephs could not overcome the hometown team. Laura Monty led all individuals with a two-day mark of 154, while Liz was right behind her with a score of 155.

The Lady Jeffs finished up their season by taking home third place at the Williams Spring Invitational. Although they could not repeat their previous success against Williams and Middlebury, their result did not diminish those of the previous two weekends.

The team will lose seniors Elaine Lin, Laura Monty and Nina Yoo but should have more than sufficient talent to return to dominance in 2013.

Although the men did not match the success of the women, they nevertheless featured some strong individual performances and promising team efforts.

The high point of the Jeffs’ spring was their victory at the NESCAC Little III Championship, where they broke Williams’ streak of 14 consecutive titles. The Jeffs topped the 2.5-1.5 in the alternate shot format and also in match play, 4.5-3.5. Seniors Nate Belkin and Mark Colp were invaluable in both alternate shot and match play, edging out key victories over their Cardinal and Eph counterparts.

In other action, the squad placed eighth at the Hampton Inn Invitational, where Belkin set the Jeffs’ pace with a two-day score of 160. Ben Johnston ’13 shot a 77 on day two of the tournament, which turned out to be a team low. The Jeffs also took third place at a rain-soaked Williams Spring Invitational; here, Nicholas Koh ’14 led the team with a total score of 153.

Still, the returning Amherst men would like to take their play to a higher level next spring. They will have to overcome the loss of key contributors and leaders Belkin and Colp, as well as Matt Parsons ’12, as they look to post an even stronger showing in 2013.

Women’s Lacrosse
Although the Lady Jeffs were knocked out of the NESCAC playoffs with a 7-6, first-round loss to Middlebury, they did capture an NCAA at-large bid thanks to their 13-4 overall performance.

There, they hung tough against the nation’s No. 4 team, TCNJ, before losing in heartbreaking fashion to end their year. Regular season highlights included three critical road wins: an 11-9, overtime victory over Bates, a 7-6 result against Trinity and a double-overtime thriller against Williams which the Jefs took by the same score.

Marta Randall ’13 was the team’s top scorer while Hillary Densen ’13 led in the assists category.

The team loses five seniors, but the momentum from its impressive spring should carry over into the offseason as the Jeffs chase an even more memorable 2013 campaign.

Men’s Lacrosse
It was an up-and-down campaign for the Jeffs, who won seven straight to begin the season but then proceeded to lose seven of their last nine.

Ultimately, the squad finished just 9-7 overall (5-5 in conference play) and dropped their first-round playoff contest to top-seeded Tufts.

Offense was the area of greatest inconsistency for the Jeffs, who averaged 13 goals per game in their wins but just under six per game in their losses.

Individually, Evan Redwood ’12 and Danny Gold ’13 were named to the all-conference second team, while Devin Action ’14 led all scorers with 44 goals.

The Jeffs will graduate 10 seniors, including goalie Samuel Jakimo, but the returning underclassmen should be capable of filling the void and propelling the team to a better finish next spring.

Outdoor Track and Field
Despite all-NESCAC individual performances from Keri Lambert ’13 and Naomi Bates ’14, the Lady Jeffs, like their counterparts on the men’s side, had a somewhat forgettable spring campaign.

They came out behind both Wesleyan and Williams at the NESCAC Little III Championships and finished seventh in the conference championships. Still, the season was not without highlights, as the team rebounded with a solid eighth place showing at the Div. III New England Championships, where they also managed to top Wesleyan by a wide margin.

Seven seniors will graduate, but nine rising sophomores, alongside Lambert and Bates, are prepared to step up in their place; there is no reason to count the Lady Jeffs out in 2013.

The men’s track team struggled at times in the spring, including a disappointing seventh place finish at the NESCAC Championships, a 13th place showing at the Div. III New England Championships and an eight place result at the AIC Invitational.

Conference rivals Middlebury, Bates, Tufts and Williams consistently topped the Jeffs, who were for the most part a young and inexperienced team (they carried 11 first-years and only five seniors on their roster).

National track athlete of the year Ben Scheetz ’12 will be departing, making the Jeffs’ chances of rebounding all the more difficult. The good news: standouts Pat Grimes ’13 and Matt Melton ’14 will return in 2013, and there will still be plenty of room for improvement for coach Erik “Ned” Nadeau”s squad.

For most of the spring, the Lady Jeffs, who recorded the best season in program history, were nothing short of unbeatable.

The team won 31 of its first 32 games, including a 22-game winning streak to open the season, and it earned the right to host the NESCAC Championship. There, the Jeffs were stunned by two heartbreaking losses, as Tufts and Middlebury knocked them out of contention with a pair of one-run defeats.

Owing to their stellar regular season, however, the Jeffs received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, their first such appearance since 1999. They won two games before being eliminated by No.1 Cortland.

Amherst’s offensive leader was first-year Donna Leet, who batted .412 and set program single-season records in hits (51) and RBI’s (41). On the mound, Theresa Kelley ’13 dominated opponents with a 1.19 ERA and two NESCAC Pitcher of the Week selections. Kelley herself also hit .304, an excellent mark for a pitcher.

The Lady Jeffs will graduate only one senior — all-academic pick Carly Dudzik — and so should find themselves back at the top of the league in 2013.

The Lady Jeffs made it a pair of NESCAC titles for the tennis program, beating Middlebury and upsetting Williams — the defending champion, to whom they had previously lost twice — en route to hosting their 13th consecutive NCAA regional tournament.

Continuing their impressive play, they scored a pair of shutouts at home and advanced to the quarterfinals in Cary, N.C. Laura Danzig ’12 led a group of four all-NESCAC selections, the other three of whom (Jennifer Newman ’14, Gabby Devlin ’14 and Zoe Pangalos ’14) will be returning in 2013 to help the Lady Jeffs continue their winning ways.

It was a virtually perfect season for the Jeffs, who were 8-0 in NESCAC play and breezed to a conference title before moving on to the NCAA regionals.

The squad registered nine shutouts on the year and clearly overmatched their opponents by 7-2 or 8-1 scores on many other occasions. Still, the Jeffs proved their ability to grind out tough wins when they needed to, as evidenced by a pair of 5-4 road wins over Bates and Williams.

Three players — Mark Kahan ’13 and seniors Austin Chafetz and Luis Rattenhuber — received all-NESCAC honors, while 2012 graduates Wes Waterman, Robby Sorrel and Andrew Jung also made instrumental contributions.

The top-ranked team has now captured back-to-back NESCAC titles and has hosted the NCAA regionals in each of the past four years.

The Jeffs compete this weekend in North Carolina, looking for their second-straight title.