Women’s Soccer Wins Final Regular Season Games, Looks to Playoffs
Issue   |   Tue, 10/25/2016 - 22:27
Janna Joassainte '17
Maeve McNamara ’19 boasts four goals and three assists this season.

This past weekend, the Amherst women’s soccer team focused all of their energy into beating NESCAC opponent Wesleyan 2-0. This victory marks the eighth win in a row for the purple and white, giving them immense confidence as they head into the final week of regular league play and playoffs.

Unlike their other victories, Amherst did not score for the entirety of the first half. However, the team battled hard defensively to prevent Wesleyan — which outshot the purple and white 7-4 in the first half — from scoring. First-year goalkeeper Erica Sanders was crucial to this defensive effort, notching seven saves.

“Chelsea [Cutler ’19] couldn’t be there due to a family event, but with the support and confidence from her and the team, I was so excited and proud to be in goal and to be on the field defending Amherst,” Sanders said.

In the second half of action, Amherst turned on the switch. Maeve McNamara ’19 assisted Emily Hester ’17 in scoring the first goal of the game at the 53-minute mark, giving the purple and white a 1-0 advantage.

“In the first half we played really defensively and lost sight of how we like to play,” Hester said. “We were playing too direct and weren’t able to build any kind of rhythm. The second half allowed us to reset and return to our style of play. We spent a lot more time in Wesleyan’s defensive half as a result.”

Not too long after Amherst secured the lead, Hannah Guzzi ’18 recorded her 11th goal of the season at 61:51 to extend the lead to 2-0. Hester and Guzzi led the team with three shots on goal each, while Alison Neveu ’18, Ashlyn Heller ’17 and Sloan Askins ’20 each had one attempt on target. Guzzi’s ceaselessly aggressive pursuit has not only made her the team’s lead scorer, but has inspired her teammates as well.

“Guzzi is impossible to defend, and is so important to our team’s success,” Hester said. “She’s quick, doesn’t give up, and has an incredible shot. It’s not only her shots that are vital to our success, but her determination too.”

The purple and white return to the field next Tuesday, Oct. 25, to host NESCAC opponent Trinity in their final league game of the season. Amherst looks to extend their already impressive winning streak to nine and carry positive momentum into the playoffs.

The purple and white went on to play its final game of the regular season on Tuesday afternoon, battling to a double overtime victory against NESCAC rival Trinity.

The first half of the matchup went scoreless, with the Amherst women dominating the offensive half of the field, putting up eight shots on goal and firing off five corner kicks.

After a scoreless first frame, both teams came into the second half with a renewed energy and Trinity scored the first goal of the match within 36 seconds of taking the field. Amherst was ready with a response, however, as they fired off three shots in a row and tied up the game in the 50th minute with yet another goal by Guzzi.

The teams went on to trade goals, Hester ultimately tying the game with a solo shot that found the back of the net at 54 minutes. As the match progressed, the play got scrappy as the last half hour saw eight fouls between the two teams, five from Trinity and three from the purple and white.

As the match ended, knotted at two, and overtime began, the Amherst women entered with the offensive momentum. All three shot attempts in the first period of overtime came from the purple and white, and they kept steady possession, putting pressure on the Trinity defense. The purple and white couldn’t find the back of the net, however, and the Bantams forced a second overtime period.

The next frame was short lived, however, when Hester found classmate Masten for a goal under two minutes in to the sudden-death overtime period. Amherst came out of their senior night match victorious, which puts the team in second place entering the playoffs this coming weekend, Oct. 29. The purple and white are second only to Williams, the defending national champs, whose undefeated streak has been broken only by Amherst, as the Little Three rivals tied earlier this season.

The purple and white will face Connecticut College at home in the first round of playoffs. The women will kick off at 12:30 p.m. against the Camels, this Saturday on Pratt Field.