On the road this weekend, the 19th-ranked women’s soccer team (8-2-2) notched their fifth shutout on the year in a 2-0 victory over last-ranked Colby College before playing the 7th-ranked Bates College to a 0-0 draw.
After 44 scoreless minutes, the Jeffs were the first to break the deadlock. Senior Rachael Abernethy found her way behind the Mules defense and forced the Mules keeper to be charged with an interference call in a desperate attempt to prevent an Amherst goal.
Sophomore Hannah Guzzi, who was summoned to take the penalty shot, converted the kick to give the purple and white a 1-0 lead heading into halftime. The goal served to be a pivotal point in the match, as it gave the Jeffs confidence to continue shooting in the second half.
“Against Colby we had momentum in the second half,” senior captain Jessy Hale said. “We started the game slow but as it went on we problem solved and started playing together as a team.”
Carrying the momentum into the second half, Amherst controlled the tempo of the game while prevailing in nearly every statistical category. The Jeffs struck again at the 63:44 mark when first-year Eden Charles chipped in an unassisted goal to push Amherst to a comfortable 2-0 lead.
The purple and white held off the Mules for the remaining 26 minutes of action. The Jeffs recorded a 16-4 shot advantage, as well as a 10-1 edge in corner kick opportunities in the dominant effort. Senior netminder Holly Burwick recorded three saves en route to the convincing victory. The Jeffs hoped to carry the momentum from the convincing win into their next match.
To closeout the doubleheader weekend, the Jeffs traveled to Bates. The game was extremely fast-paced, with each side controlling play for a period, but neither team seemed to be able to convert an opportunity to score in the final third.
With neither team able to find the back of the net at the end of regulation, the game proceeded into overtime. In the second overtime, Amherst dealt the Bobcats a severe scare. With 5 minutes remaining, senior Megan Kim corralled a throw-in and blew past a defender. Kim created enough space for herself to fire a shot that zoomed just inches above the crossbar. Bates responded with an equally as frightening attack. With 27 seconds left in the contest, Burwick had to race out of goal to make a slide-tackling save. Amherst recorded an advantage in shots, 21-17, and corner kicks, 7-4. Even though the Jeffs created more opportunities, they unfortunately could not break through in the final third to earn the win. Burwick tallied 11 saves in order to preserve the tie.
“In the Bates game we had a lot of opportunities but we didn’t execute” Hale added. “For the next two games we need to keep an attacking mentally for 90 minutes and look to score not only to shoot.”
The Jeffs will faceoff for Senior Day at noon on Saturday, Oct. 24 when they play little three rival Wesleyan.
Last season, Abernethy contributed two goals to lead Amherst to a 2-0 victory over the Cardinals. On Tuesday, Oct. 27, the Jeffs will conclude regular season action as they travel to Trinity.
After playing Trinity to a tie at the end of regulation in the 2014 season, Amherst suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Bantams. The purple and white will look to capture two wins before heading into the NESCAC tournament. Last year, the Jeffs were unable to make it past the NESCAC quarterfinals, losing 1-0 to a tough Middlebury side. This year’s team appears to have the ability and the motivation to make a deep run in the tournament.