Women's Soccer Rides Three-Game Winning Streak
Issue   |   Tue, 10/21/2014 - 23:15

After clinching conference wins over Colby and Wesleyan in the past two weeks, the Amherst women’s soccer team worked their way to the top of the NESCAC, tying archrival Williams for the first place standing. Ranked 15th in nation, the Jeffs have won three of their last four games. Amherst saw their second loss of the year come from the Warriors of Eastern Connecticut State University (9-5-1) just before fall break. Although ECSU snapped a six-game win streak for the Jeffs, the resilient Purple and White responded by capturing three straight victories.

Maintaining possession of the ball for the majority of both halves, Amherst struck first with a Hannah Guzzi ’18 goal, the shot delivered just under the cross bar to put the Jeffs ahead 1-0 in the 14th minute of play.

Going into the half, Amherst boasted an 8-1 shot advantage, but that would not be enough to hold off ECSU. In the 74th minute, ECSU’s Emily Becher collected a long pass from Hailey Lehning and fired a shot inside the right post.

Tied at 1-1, a Warrior corner kick and header from Lehning resulted in the game-winning goal just ten minutes later.

Guzzi lead the Amherst offense with eight shots, three of which were on goal, while Delancey King ’18 and Ashlyn Heller ’17 also chipped in a shot attempt each. Overall, Amherst boasted a 14-4 shot advantage but missed opportunities proved fatal for the Jeffs.

“Soccer isn’t always a game where the best team wins,” Ariana Twomey ’15 said. “We didn’t finish our chances in that game, and it ended up biting us in the butt.”

Returning to NESCAC action during fall break, the Jeffs faced-off against Colby College (4-5-1). Delancey King ’18 headed in a corner kick from Meredith Manley’s ’18, breaking the 2-2 stalemate en route to a sensational 3-2 overtime victory.

Manley sparked the Jeffs’ offense earlier in the game as well. In the 25th minute, she knocked a corner kick to Emily Hester ’17 for a header to put Amherst ahead by one. But Colby responded a minute later with a Cami Notaro goal that tied the score at 1-1.

The Mules posted their second goal in the 65th minute of action when Notaro struck again. Down 2-1, Amherst capitalized on a penalty kick opportunity just five minutes later. Guzzi fired the shot into the top left corner, which tied the score at 2-2.

“The Colby game was the first game where we came back from behind which was a good learning experience for the team,” Twomey continued.

With neither team able to find the back of the net before the end of regulation, the game went into overtime. Just 2:26 in, Manley and King connected for the thrilling finish.

“We pulled it out in the end” Twomey. said “It was grit that won us that game. We kept working.”
Amherst outshot Colby, 13-5 in the matchup. Goalkeeper Holly Burwick ’16 posted three saves.

Coming off of the dramatic win, Amherst beat Keene State College (8-7-0) in a convincing 4-0 non-conference victory. Four different Jeffs contributed to scoring.

“Keene was a great game and out of conference win for us,” said co-captain Mel Stier ’15. “They are always extremely physical, and we came out and put them away early in the first half and controlled the remainder of the game.”

Emma Rothkopf ’15 capitalized on a short pass from Quinn Phillips ’17 to put Amherst on the scoreboard and to record her first goal of the season.

With six minutes remaining in the half, Guzzi drew blood once more for Amherst off of a touch pass from Rachael Abernethy ’16. With a two-goal cushion leading into intermission, the Jeffs never looked back.

In the 77th minute of play, Jessy Hale ’16 delivered a corner kick to Phillips who headed the ball between the posts. Amherst scored their fourth at the 83:50 mark when Alison Neveu ’18 found Megan Kim ’16 on a cross.

In the 4-0 victory, the Jeffs outshot the Owls 18-10, and also finished with a 10-2 advantage in shots on goal. Burwick amassed two saves in the game, earning an impressive sixth shutout on the year.

Traveling to Middletown, Connecticut over the weekend, the Jeffs triumphed over NESCAC rival Wesleyan University (1-9-2). In the 2-0 win, Amherst struggled to execute shot opportunities in the first half. The Jeffs owned a commanding 7-0 shot advantage at the break, but the score remained tied at 0-0.

“The environment was really tough when we played there on Saturday. It was their homecoming and senior day, and there were a lot of rowdy fans,” Stier said.

“We had some incredible goals in the second half that let us pull away with the victory. Our defense did a great job in sealing the shut out.”

In the 76th minute of action, Abernethy netted the first goal off of a feed from Rothkopf. Abernethy, collecting a delivery from Kim, delivered one more for the Jeffs at the 83:02 mark. Burwick posted three saves, helping the Jeffs clench another victory.

“We’re really working hard for each other both on the field and sideline,” Abernethy said. “The energy, work ethic and focus we have is inspiring. It is exciting and really fun to finish the incredible scoring opportunities we’re creating for each other.”

With two games remaining in the regular season, the Jeffs hope to tack two more wins onto their already impressive regular season before heading into tournament play. Traveling to Connecticut College this afternoon, the Purple and White will wrap-up the regular season at home against Trinity College next Tuesday, Oct.28.

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