Looking Back at Another Year of Sports Successes: Spring
Issue   |   Fri, 05/24/2013 - 13:57

Baseball

The Jeffs finished their regular season with a 27-13 record, including a 9-3 mark in their division.

More importantly, they finally captured that elusive NESCAC Championship, their first since 2005, by defeating Wesleyan twice in the tournament finals. Playing in Middletown, Conn., the Jeffs followed up a thrilling, 5-4, 13-inning victory with a resounding 7-0 shutout to secure the crown.

As conference champions, the team gained an automatic berth in the NCAA Div. III tournament, where they won twice before being eliminated with two close losses.

Following the stellar season, several Jeffs received individual accolades. Senior Bob Cook received the NESCAC Pitcher of the Year distinction; he was joined by shortstop Taiki Kasuga ’14, who was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year. Finally, Mike Odenwaelder ’16, who led the team in home runs and RBI’s, garnered Rookie of the Year honors.

Golf

Men

In their three outings of the spring, the men’s golf team turned in a solid showing and narrowly lost the Little III title. At the Hampton Inn Invitational hosted by UMass-Dartmouth (April 13), Jarvis Sill ’15 tied for fifth individually (just three strokes behind the winner) and paced the Jeffs with a 75 in the rain-shortened event.

As a team, the Jeffs finished third overall in a field of 20. At Williams’ Spring Invitational, while the Jeffs as a team finished sixth out of eight, Sill shone once again, claiming the individual title with a two-day total of 152.

Finally, the Jeffs surprised many by tying the Ephs in the Little III Championship, the season’s final event, although the Ephs went on to claim the league title by virtue of a tiebreaker. Senior captains Ben Johnston and Alex Butensky will be missed, but Sill, as well as Nicholas Koh ’14, will be returning to lead the Jeffs next spring.

Women

Like the men, the women’s golf team played three events in the spring of 2013. At the Vassar Invitational, the Lady Jeffs finished a respectable fourth out of 11, with senior Liz Monty leading the way by tying for third individually.
At the Jack Leaman Invitational, Monty excelled once again, finishing second individually (one stroke ahead of Williams’ Georgiana Salant). As a team, the host Lady Jeffs finished fifth out of 12.

To close out their season, the Amherst squad took home third of seven at the Williams Spring Invitational. This time, Monty was matched by Kristen Lee ’14; each shot a two-day 170 to tie for ninth overall.

With the departure of Monty, Lee and Sooji Choi ’14, as the team’s sole seniors, will assume leadership roles as the Lady Jeffs look for another strong season.

Women’s Lacrosse

An up-and-down spring that, at one point, saw the Lady Jeffs win five straight ultimately ended in an 11-3, NESCAC Quarterfinal defeat at Colby.

Regular season highlights included several big home wins, including a 9-8 defeat of Bates and a 16-7 rout of Williams. Overall, the Lady Jeffs finished 9-6 and 5-5 in their division, a step down from their 13-5 spring a year ago.

Marta Randall and Hillary Densen were the team’s two biggest senior standouts, while Priscilla Tyler ’15 led the team in goals and developed into a formidable scoring threat. With all but three players returning next year — including Tyler — the Lady Jeffs should look to contend for a title in 2014. As next year’s senior leaders, Alex Philie ’14 and Krista Zsitvay ’14 look to play a prominent role in that success.

Men’s Lacrosse

It was a difficult year for coach Jon Thompson’s team; the squad finished just 5-10 and 3-7 in their division.

The Jeffs stumbled out of the gate with a pair of tough, overtime road losses and never seemed to gain much momentum. If one were to pick a season highlight, it would be the team’s 10-9 win at Williams on April 20, a victory that allowed them to play in the first round of the NESCAC tournament. There, however, they lost to Middlebury in their worst defeat of the spring.

Still, there is room for optimism: the 2013 Jeffs were a young team, and five of their losses came by just one goal, meaning that they could easily have ended up .500 or better. Devin Acton ’14, the team’s captain and leading scorer, will be back to ensure that the Jeffs meet a better fate in 2014.

Outdoor Track and Field

Men

The Jeffs started their season with strong showings at the Tufts Snowflake Classic and the AIC Invitational, both of which featured Div. I and II as well as Div. III competition.

At the Little III Championships, the Jeffs edged Wesleyan to take second, and they followed this up with a middle-of-the-pack effort (sixth of 11) at the NESCAC Championships. Here, the Jeffs produced three all-NESCAC selections: senior Andrew Erskine in the 10,000-meter event, fellow senior Pat Grimes in the 1,500 and Matt Melton ’14 in the 400, his third all-NESCAC honor in the event.

The team also competed in the Div. III New England Championships (17th of 26) and the All-New England Championships (34th of 37). To close out the spring, Erskine led the men at the ECAC Championships, placing fourth in the 10,000.

Women

Competing in the same events as the men, the Lady Jeffs produced six all-NESCAC selections and turned in several strong late-season team performances. The team took second at the Little III Championships and eighth at the NESCAC Championships.

Then, the Lady Jeffs seemed to hit their stride, taking ninth of 25 at the Div. III New England Championships and 14th of 35 at the All-New England Championships.

Senior Keri Lambert led the Amherst all-conference selections with two awards, an individual recognition for a dominant performance in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and a prize for running a leg of the 4x800-meter relay. Fellow senior Lauren Almeida joined Lambert with a win in the 1,500-meter run, while classmate Sarah Daly was honored for placing second in the 5,000-meter event.

Softball

Though they were 24-12 overall, the Lady Jeffs’ season was a disappointing one, as they went 4-8 in their division and failed to make the NESCAC tournament.

The spring hurt particularly on the heels of a 36-6 2012 campaign that saw the Lady Jeffs make the NCAA tournament.

Despite this, several players impressed at an individual level, beginning with senior infielder Reilly Horan, who hit .377, and senior pitcher Theresa Kelley, who started 19 games and finished with a solid 3.23 ERA.

Donna Leet ’15 hit at a .369 clip and slugged seven home runs, while Kaitlin Silkowitz ’14, who figures to be one of the squad’s leaders next year, turned in an astounding .478 average for the spring.

While Arielle Doering ’14 will likely take over for Kelley next year as the teams number one starter, Leet and Silkowitz will be there to anchor the offense and help the Lady Jeffs get back to the playoffs.

Tennis

Men

Between their return from the west coast and the final game of the NESCAC tournament, the Jeffs were essentially untouchable. They won all 13 of their regular-season matches, and seven of those victories came either by scores of 9-0 or 8-1.
The defending NESCAC Champions, the Jeffs weren’t quite able to repeat; they fell in the conference finals by one point to a stellar Williams team that had also played them close during the regular season.

Still, the Jeffs’ 29-8 record easily enabled them to make the NCAA tournament, where they won three straight to advance to the semifinals, where they eventually fell to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Jeffs’ success is nothing new; 2013 marked Coach Chris Garner’s fifth straight campaign with at least 27 wins.

Though the team graduates a talented crop of six seniors, rising upperclassmen such as Joey Fritz ’14 are sure to provide outstanding leadership next year.

Women
It was another outstanding year for the Lady Jeffs, who went 20-2 overall and, like the men, were undefeated in the regular season against Div. III opponents.

As good as both Amherst tennis teams were, Williams seemed to have the Jeffs’ number in 2013. In addition to beating the men’s team in the NESCAC finals, the Ephs turned away the women’s team from a NESCAC title by handing them a 5-2 defeat in the conference championship game.

Like the men, however, the women were more than qualified to make the NCAA tournament. There, they reeled off three straight, fairly easy wins but dropped a tough semifinal match to Emory.

The three seniors on the 2013 team — Sarah Nyirjesy, Kate Paul and Caroline Richman — were integral to the Lady Jeffs’ success, but there’s no reason to believe that the team won’t be back in the conference finals in 2014.

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