The Year in Sports: Winter Season
Issue   |   Thu, 05/19/2016 - 19:25
Amherst Athletics

Men’s Basketball
Amherst men’s basketball made their 18th NCAA championship appearance this season with a Final Four run, bringing their all time NCAA postseason record to 41-17. The squad, led by D3hoops All-Region selection Connor Green, was 26-6 overall this season, beating Husson, SUNY Cortland, Babson and Tufts in their postseason run before falling to Benedictine University in the semifinals for their third Final Four appearance in the last four seasons. The young team will feel the loss of Green, who averaged 14.8 points per game shooting 39.4 percent from the field and 6.4 rebounds per game. The senior graduates with1,739 career points, second all-time on the all-time leading scorers list.

Women’s Ice Hockey
Women’s ice hockey, prepped with a talented team, was ready to make a deep NCAA postseason run before meeting eventual champion Plattsburgh State in the first round of the tournament. The women had a wildly successful season nonetheless, finishing 22-3-3 overall and going 13-1-2 in conference. Alex Toupal ’18 had a breakout sophomore season, being named a All-American selection, the fifth post-season accolade for the Minnesota native. Toupal led the purple and white in all major offensive statistical categories, scoring 23 goals (fifth in the nation), including seven game-winning and three short-handed tallies, to go along with 16 helpers for 39 total points. Erin Martin concluded a fantastic career with Amherst hockey, adding Third Team All-Region East to her decorated career after she was named a Second Team All-NESCAC selection for the third consecutive season and a NCAA Division II/III NEHWA All-Star. The senior had three hat tricks, 22 goals (seventh in the nation) and 15 assists for 37 points during her senior season. In 104 career games, Martin has posted 94 points for the purple and white on 45 goals and 49 assists. Rounding out the standouts this year was junior Caitlyn Ryan, who adds a Second Team All-Region East honor to her impressive resume. A force on both sides of the ice, Ryan notched four goals and 14 assists while leading an Amherst defense that ranked eighth nationally in goals against average (1.43). Ten points and nine assists in league play placed her first among all NESCAC defenders.

Men’s Ice Hockey
Last year’s NESCAC champs came up a game short this year after falling to Trinity 5-1 in the championship game of the NESCAC tournament. The squad struggled early in the season, posting an overall 11-12-4 record and a 7-8-3 conference record — failing to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament based off record alone. The team will lose a handful of seniors including their starting goalie Dave Cunningham who, although impressing in his first three seasons, was battling injury most of this year, which resulted in splitting time between the posts with sophomore Connor Girard. Luckily the young squad will return all three of their leading goal scorers in Thomas Lindstrom ’18, Phil Johansson ’19 and Will Vosejpka ’18.

Women’s Indoor Track and Field
After opening with a tough result in Little Threes, the women’s track and field team recovered well to finish fourth at the Smith Invitational and third at the Springfield Invitational. The team placed 24th at Division III New England Championships and sent six athletes to ECAC Championships.

Senior captain Victoria Hensley led the purple and white for the season, setting a school record in the 400-meters at NEICAAA Championships (58.54) before improving her own record at ECAC Championships with a mark of 58.21.
Senior captain Betsy Black led Amherst’s efforts in the distance events with a season best of 18:22.46 in the 5,000 meters at ECACs.

Abbey Asare-Bediako ’18 led Amherst in field events with a season best of 11.08 meters in the triple jump, while Leonie Rauls ’18 claimed fifth place in the 1,000-meter run at ECACs.

The team loses key contributors Hensley and Black next year, but they return a strong team featuring Asare-Bediako, Rauls, Julia Asin ’19 and Danielle Griffin ’18.

Men’s Indoor Track and Field
After second place finishes at Little Threes, the Smith Invitational and the Springfield College Invitational, the men’s indoor track team started championship season by finishing 12th at the Division III New England Championships.
The purple and white then placed 21st of 36 teams at NEICAAA Championships, which featured teams from NCAA Divisions I, II and III. Mohamed Hussein ’18 led Amherst’s performance by finishing first in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 14:33.95.

Two relay teams also earned points to highlight the meet for Amherst. The distance medley relay tandem of Jeff Seelaus ’16, Kristian Sogaard ’19, Brent Harrison ’19 and Kevin Connors ’18 earned eighth with a time of 10:05.63. The 4x800-meter team of Jesse Fajnzylber ’17, Vernon Espinoza ’19, Sogaard and Brent Harrison ’16 then crossed the line in a time of 7:41.89 to claim the eight place spot.

Hussein also competed in the 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter at the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships. The sophomore finished the 5,000 in seventh place with a mark of 14:30.43 to earn All-American honors.

Women’s Squash
The women’s squash team impressed with an 11-6 overall record this season, finished second in the Walker Cup Finals to Bates in several tough matchups. Sophomore Kim Krayacich had a breakout season, spending the whole year at the number one spot and earning Second Team All-NESCAC recognition after posting a 6-10 overall mark against predominantly upperclassmen opponents. First-year Rachael Ang also had an impressive first season, tallying a 9-7 overall mark including six straight wins between Jan. 15 and Jan. 31. Five of Ang’s nine victories this season came by way of a 3-0 triumph and she was named to the first-team all-NESCAC squad for her performance. The team dominated off the court as well, with seniors Khushy Aggarwal, Corri Johnson, Ericka Robertson and Taryn Clary being named College Squash Association Scholar Athletes, which indicates a junior or a senior with a 3.5 or higher cumulative GPA. Although graduating five seniors, the underclassmen-dominated squad looks to thrive next season.

Men’s Squash
Senior standout Noah Browne led the Amherst men’s squash team to a 7-10 overall finish this season. Individually, Browne advanced to the quarterfinals of the Professional Squash Association World Tour Northern Open. Browne, who played in the first spot all year for the purple and white, was named a First Team All-NESCAC selection for a fourth consecutive season. With this honor, he is one of just three league players to close out his collegiate career as a four-time all-conference honoree. The squad will lose five seniors next year, including Browne, and will look to rebuild for a strong 2016-2017 season.

Women’s Swimming and Diving
The women’s swimming and diving team captured sixth place at nationals this season behind an incredible year for senior Emily Hyde. Hyde set a new NCAA Division III record and was named the national champion in the 200-yard breaststroke. Following this performance, she moved on to race to the national championship time in the 200-yard individual medley (2:01.15) during day one with a national runner-up finish in the 100-yard breaststroke. At the NESCAC tournament, Hyde was named NESCAC swimmer of the meet and Four Year High Point swimmer; champion of the 100 and 200 breaststroke and 200 indvidual medley. The women’s squad placed eight other swimmers on all-NESCAC teams including Sarah Conklin ’16, Bridgette Kwong ’19, Stephanie Moriarty ’18, Zoe Pappas ’19, Destin Groff ’17, Katie Smith ’19, Livia Domenig ’19 and Dorit Song ’19. The rising sophomores and talented rising seniors look to continue their success next year amidst the loss of Hyde.

Men’s Swimming and Diving
The men’s swimming and diving team had an impressive season overall, placing fourth in the NESCAC tournament and 28th nationally. Jeff Anderson ’16 set a new school record (1:47.60) and finished as the national runner up in the 200-yard fly, earning him All-American honors for this race and for his seventh-place finish in the 400-yard individual medley. Asher Lichtig ’16 was NESCAC diver of the year as well as a Four Year High Point Diver, only the third Amherst diver to ever earn this distinction.

The team placed 11 swimmers and divers on the all-NESCAC teams, including Anderson, Reed Patterson ’17, Elijah Spiro ’18, Connor Haley ’17, Josh Chen ’19, Greg Han ’17, Matt Heise ’16 and Sam Spurrell ’18.