Looking Back at Another Year of Sports Successes: Winter
Issue   |   Fri, 05/24/2013 - 13:53

Women’s Basketball

The women’s basketball team enjoyed another terrific season under the tutelage of head coach G.P. Gromacki. The team lost only once in the regular season, away at Williams, but otherwise enjoyed a dominant season that included the team’s fourth-straight NESCAC title and fifth-straight trip to the Final Four. The Jeffs suffered a tragic loss in the national Semifinals, losing on a buzzer-beater in OT to Wisconsin-Whitewater. In the conslation game, Williams again got the best of the Lady Jeffs, as Amherst had to settle for fourth place nationally.

Senior guard Marcia Voigt enjoyed a successful season at the point for Amherst, averaging 12.7 points and 4.4 assists per game — her best season statistically in her four years. Voigt earned first-team d3hoops.com All-Northeast Region and WBCA honorable mention accolades. This season also saw Voigt eclipse the 1,000-point barrier and positioned her sixth all-time in assists and 12th in scoring.

Men’s Basketball

It was a season for the ages for the men’s basketball team. After losing two out of three in early December, the Jeffs regrouped to win 24 straight, reclaim their NESCAC title and win the program’s second-ever National Championship.
There were highlights galore for the Jeffs this season, most notably senior captain Willy Workman’s intentional miss and putback at the freethrow line to tie the game as time expired in the second session of overtime at Middlebury. There was also senior Allen Williamson’s block in the waning moments of the NESCAC Final against Williams — a block that had to have gone five rows deep into the LeFrak stands as Amherst held on to win its second-straight NESCAC title, 74-73.

And then, of course, there was the NCAA run, which really wasn’t all that difficult for the Jeffs when you look at the results. Only once, in the Semifinal against North Central, did the Jeffs win a game by single digits, as the other four wins were routs for the Jeffs.

Amherst graduates three senior starters: Workman, Williamson and monster center Pete Kaasila. They will be tough to replace, but certainly the return of two-time NESCAC Player of the Year and first-team All-America selection Aaron Toomey means big things are absolutely in store for the Amherst men’s basketball team.

Men’s Ice Hockey

Coming off the program’s first-ever trip to the Frozen Four, the men’s hockey team struggled to find consistency in NESCAC play this season. Despite finishing with a 15-7-3 record (11-5-2 NESCAC), the team failed to defend its NESCAC title, bowing out of the tournament in the Quarters to Middlebury, 4-3.

Senior captain Johnny Van Siclen led the way for the Amherst team, scoring 14 goals and adding 12 assists in his 22 games played. Fellow senior Mike Moher also enjoyed a successful final season, ending with 24 points and 78 career points for the Purple and White. Between the pipes, senior Nathan Corey recorded a save percentage of .916, or 2.15 goals per game in 20 games played.

While this season was, by most accounts, a disappointment after the team’s 2011-2012 campaign, the Jeffs will certainly take solace in the captainships of rising-seniors Andrew Kurlandski and Brian Safstrom. The two have combined for 98 points and have both the experience and talent to bring their squad back to the forefront of the NESCAC and back to Lake Placid for the Frozen Four.

Women’s Ice Hockey

The women’s ice hockey team finished their 2012-2013 campaign with a 13-11-1 (10-5-1 NESCAC) record, falling to Bowdoin 3-1 in the NESCAC Semis after bouncing Hamilton, 5-1, in the Quarters. The team struggled to put together any substantial win-streak, finishing just above .500 and unable to reach the conference tournament finals for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

Leading the way for the Lady Jeffs was four-time first-team All-NESCAC selection Geneva Lloyd ’13. The defensemen is the first-ever player to be named to four consecutive first-team selections since the inception of the award in 2002. Lloyd also earned a spot on the ACHA first-team All-America team, along with being named runner-up for the Hurd Award, the country’s best overall player.

The Lady Jeffs will undoubtedly miss the class of 2013, a class that helped with a league and national championship during the 2009-2010 season.

Indoor Track and Field

Women

Not surprisingly, the women’s indoor track season was led by brilliant efforts by Keri Lambert ’13 and Naomi Bates ’14.
From basically the first meet of the season Bates seemed to dominate her three events — the long jump, the 60-meter dash and the 200-meter. Over the course of her season she broke her own record in the long jump and helped her team win the Springfield Invitational.

Lambert, meanwhile, seemed to carry her success from her cross country season (in which she won NESCACs and took third at Nationals), posting all-around solid times in the mile, 3K and 5K. At the Tufts Last Chance meet Lambert won the 3K. The Amherst native’s best result, though, came at Nationals, where Lambert took sixth in the 5K to earn All-American honors and secure three points for her team.

Men

The men’s indoor track team took 45th of 63 at NCAA Championships in North Central, IL to wrap up their 2012-2013 season — a campaign that saw some stellar individual achievements and the collective shedding of seconds as several Jeffs earned personal bests on the track.

Perhaps the most impressive runner of all was junior Matt Melton, who placed third at the NEICAAA Championship in the 800m and posted Div. III’s 10th lowest time of the season, a 1:51.94.

Along with Melton, senior Pat Grimes enjoyed a speedy indoor season, posting an impressive time of 4:11.72 in the mile at Tufts Last Chance Meet. The time earned him the fourth overall seed at Nationals.

At Nationals, Melton took sixth-place in the 800, good enough for All-America recognition. Grimes, meanwhile, placed 11th in the preliminary race for the mile and failed to qualify for the finals.

Squash

Women

Led by five first-year players, the women’s squash team enjoyed its best season in recent history, finishing 14-7 and finding themselves back in the ‘B’ division of CSA nationals.

The Lady Jeffs also took fifth at NESCACs and finished 15th nationally, a stellar end of the year ranking when considering the fact that Amherst competes against and is ranked against Div. I programs and plays regularly the best programs in the country. Among just Div. III teams, the Lady Jeffs placed fifth — a testament to how strong the NESCAC Conference really is.

Senior Chandler Lusardi led the way for the women at the top of the ladder, picking up her first All-NESCAC award with a spot on the second team. At the top spot, Lusardi posted a 13-10 record and went 8-3 against NESCAC opponents.

Men

It was an up and down year for the men’s squash team, who finished 12-13 and fifth at the NESCAC tournament. After beginning their year with two home losses to Drexel and George Washington, respectively, the Jeffs could never claw their way back to .500, though there were certainly some high moments over the course of the season.

Jake Albert ’15 picked up a key win for Amherst, rallying back to beat his Conn. College opponent in five games and secure an Amherst win, 5-4. The Jeffs also ended their season at CSA Nationals with another 5-4 win over Conn. College before getting their revenge on Drexel, topping the Dragons 5-4.

Perhaps the biggest lowlight of the season for Amherst was losing to Wesleyan. The 5-4 at the team’s Pioneer Valley Invitational marked the first time in head coach Peter Robson’s 26-year tenure that the Jeffs fell to the Cardinals. Wesleyan also got the better of Amherst at Little IIIs, though Amherst would have the last laugh as the Jeffs topped Wesleyan 5-4 at NESCACs, a crucial win that helped them take fifth at NESCACS.

Looking forward, the Jeffs should only continue to improve as they only graduate two seniors. Noah Browne ’16 enjoyed an excellent season at the top of the Jeffs ladder, garnering first-team All-NESCAC honors, an impressive achievement for a rookie.

Swimming and Diving

Men

Despite landing 13 swimmers on All-NESCAC teams, the Jeffs swimming and diving team couldn’t best Williams at NESCACS, taking second of 11 schools while Williams cruised to its 11th-straight NESCAC title.

Leading the way for the Jeffs were Tyler Bulakul ’14 and Conor Deveney ’15, both of whom set records at the meet.
Bulakul’s 200-yard butterfly time of 1:48.36 set a new meet, pool, and Amherst record as the junior qualified for Nationals and won the event, while Deveney’s time of 1:47.91 in the preliminary 200-yard backstroke broke the NESCAC, pool, and meet-records.

At Nationals, the Jeffs placed seventh and finished ahead of Williams as a nice consolation prize. Connor Sholtis ’15 led the men at nationals, taking sixth in the 100 free and fourth in the 200 free — the only Amherst swimmer to earn All-America recognition in two events.

In years to come it seems that it will be Amherst and Williams again gutting it out for the top spot in the NESCAC while the rest of the field will be well behind. Perhaps the team’s strong performance at Nationals will give the Jeffs the necessary confidence it will take to break the Ephs 11-year streak.

Women

It’s hard to look back on the women’s swimming and diving season and think it could have gone any better. After winning NESCACs for the first time in program history and stealing the title away from Williams for the first time in 12 seasons, the Lady Jeffs took sixth at Nationals, their best performance ever.

While there were several impressive swimmers and divers for the Amherst team this winter, arguably the most important was first-year swimmer Emily Hyde. Not only did she break the Amherst record in the 200-yard breaststroke twice (at NESCACs and then again at Nationals), the rookie also swam to three All-American performances at Nationals in her first-ever meet.

Meanwhile on the diving board, Lizzy Linsmayer ’14 not only won NESCACs, but took second and third at Nationals, despite being abroad for the first semester and entering the season with low expectations.

It was, by all accounts, as good as it could have gotten for the Lady Jeffs in the pool.

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