Women's Soccer Splits Pair of NESCAC Contests
Issue   |   Tue, 10/01/2013 - 23:50

Amherst women’s soccer split a pair of NESCAC games this weekend, falling 2-1 in overtime to Tufts Saturday and knocking off Bates on Sunday 3-0. Saturday’s defeat was their first on the year, but Sunday’s win moved them to 3-1-2 overall, and 2-1-2 in the NESCAC.

Going into Saturday’s contest, the Jeffs had not given up a goal all year. Tufts almost changed that midway through the first half, when Brooke Fortin created a golden opportunity in the Amherst box that was neutralized by an offside call. Still, the visitors were not denied for long, and Victoria Stoj finished a nice piece of individual play with a shot into the left corner. Despite a 12-5 shot advantage in the first half, Amherst went down 1-0.

The Jeffs intensified their pressure in the opening minutes of the second half, as an Alex Hart ’15 header and an attempted chip by Sarah Duffy ’14 forced consecutive saves from Tufts goalkeeper Kristin Wright. In total, Amherst fired 12-second half shots before Chloe McKenzie ’14 finally broke through in the 72nd minute, netting her second goal of the season, off an assist from Duffy. Having tied the game, Amherst relaxed a little, allowing Tufts to apply pressure in the closing minutes of regulation, but goalkeeper Holly Burwick ’16 saved an 86th minute shot from Jess Capone to send the game to overtime.

Amherst could hardly have been surprised; Saturday marked their fourth straight NESCAC game that could not be resolved in regular time. In the first overtime, Hart and Duffy again tested Wright in quick succession. This time Hart gathered a Duffy rebound and fired, but Wright saved the shot again. With 57 seconds left in the period, the Jumbos’ Anya Kaufmann slid a shot home from the top of the box, sending the visitors home happy. The Jeffs lost despite a final 29-15 edge in shots.

“I was proud of the way we played against Tufts. We moved the ball well and we created a lot of chances offensively,” said Coach Jen Hughes. “The only thing we didn’t do was finish our chances.”

Captain Kate Sisk ‘14 echoed similar thoughts, saying that, “I thought we played a great game against Tufts, and our only weakness was our struggle to finish.”

The win built on a promising start for Tufts, sending them to 3-1-0 in the NESCAC, (4-2-0 overall) while Amherst dropped to 1-1-2 in the NESCAC, (2-1-2 overall).

The Jeffs’ back line returned to its stellar form for its visit to Bates on Sunday, allowing only two shots on keeper Burwick, who helped earn Amherst’s fifth clean sheet of the season. Three different goal scorers propelled the visitors to a comfortable victory. One of Burwick’s few tests came early in the first half, as Bates’ Jaime Capucci forced a save in the 11th minute. Sarah Duffy sent Amherst to a lead midway through the half, capitalizing on a nice cross from Mel Stier ’15. After a couple more close calls, including a Kate Sisk header, Hannah Cooper ’14 doubled the Jeffs’ lead in the 38th minute.

They kept control throughout the second half, and Megan Kim ’16 solidified the lead when she finished a breakaway goal at the 80:40 mark.

“Our game against Bates was a solid win,” Sisk said. “The aspect of our play that improved from Saturday to Sunday was our finishing power. I’m proud of our team for making that happen and for getting better each day.”

With the loss, Bates fell to 1-4-1 in the NESCAC. (2-5-1 overall) The Jeffs remain in fourth place in the NESCAC after this weekend’s results, behind Trinity, Middlebury and Tufts. They visit Mount Holyoke (4-4-0) on Thursday and Hamilton (3-1-2 overall 1-1-2 NESCAC) on Saturday.