Simply perfect. This week, at least. In two games, the women’s soccer team did not allow a goal en route to two wins to move them to 11-1- (7-1-1 NESCAC). After thrashing Keene State 5-0 on Wednesday, Amherst earned a hard-fought 1-0 overtime victory at Wesleyan.
Less than three minutes into the Keene State game, first-year sensation Megan Kim ’16 found Amanda Brisco ’14 free in front of net for a tap-in 1-0 lead. Hannah Cooper ’14 doubled the Jeff’s lead in the 11th minute, finishing Kathryn Nathan’s ’13 low cross. Nathan would later add a goal of her own, and Mel Stier ’15 would net two for the 5-0 shutout victory.
The Jeffs, the NCAA’s 10th-ranked team nationally, outshot Keene State 18-12, but were at a disadvantage in the corner count, 4-3. Coach Jen Hughes felt the game was more lopsided than it otherwise might have been as a result of her side’s quick goals. “Keene is a solid team, but we finished our early chances and put them away early,” she said.
The Jeffs were not able to get an early goal against Wesleyan, a bottom-three NESCAC team who has struggled so far this season. Instead, they were substandard in the games opening minutes.
“We started off flat and they were playing high speed and physical,” Co-captain Kate Sisk ’14 said. Coach Hughes was equally unimpressed by the start. “They came to play and we didn’t,” she said.
The Jeffs came out stronger in the second half and outshot the Cardinals 17-10 in regulation. However, had it not been for some key saves by Holly Burwick ’16, the Cardinals might have emerged victorious. Once in overtime, the Jeffs finally hit their stride. “At the beginning of overtime, we had the momentum,” Sisk said. “Wesleyan tried to slow us down, but we pushed through."
It only took them a matter of minutes to win a free kick on the edge of the 18-yeard box. Maya Jackson-Gibson ’15 took the kick and found Sarah Duffy ’14 at the back post for the golden goal that gave the Jeffs a much-needed 1-0 overtime victory.
Despite the win, the Jeffs will not be the NESCAC regular season champions and will not host the NESCAC Championship.
Even if they were to defeat Conn. College in a road game on Wednesday, the winner of the Middlebury-Williams game would earn home-field advantage. Were that match-up to result in a tie, Williams would retain the top spot.
Coach Hughes, however, would not allow her team to look ahead, however toward the post-season. “Regardless of the standings, every team in the NESCAC is solid, and we have to come to play. Saturday was instructive and hopefully we can implement what we learned in that game on Wednesday against Conn.”
Though they may not have won the regular season NESCAC tiltle, the Jeffs remain confident they can win when it matters most: in the playoffs.