Women’s Soccer Wins Fourth NESCAC Title, First Since 2011 Season
Issue   |   Thu, 11/10/2016 - 23:46

Amherst women’s soccer took down Middlebury (2-0) on Saturday, Nov. 5 and then went on to defeat Trinity (3-2) on Sunday, Nov. 6 to claim the 2016 NESCAC championship.

After losing to Middlebury earlier in the season by just one goal, the purple and white were thirsty for revenge. It was revenge that they won, and on Sunday they clinched the long sought-after league championship title. This marks the first time the Amherst women’s soccer program has won the NESCAC championship since 2011.

The purple and white bussed out to Williamstown for semi-final action on Saturday. As the Panthers were responsible for one of the two losses Amherst has on the season, the women were ready to set the record straight. The first half played through scoreless, but Middlebury led the offensive efforts with a 7-5 shot advantage.

However, Amherst flipped a switch and came out firing at the start of the second stanza. At 51:57, the purple and white scored the first goal of the game. Maeve McNamara ’19 collected the ball and sent it to teammate Rubii Tamen ’19.

Tamen ripped a shot off, but Middlebury’s goalie was able to put up a block in time. With the ball back out into play off the goalkeeper’s hands, however, Hannah Guzzi ’18 put it in the back of the net, scoring her 15th goal of the season.

Just minutes later, Amherst increased its lead to two. Morgan Machiele ’19 sent a through-ball to Tamen, who outran the opposing goalie and put the ball across the goal line. This marked Tamen’s fifth goal of the season.

On the defensive end of the field, Chelsea Cutler ’19 had an impressive 10 saves, denying the Panthers from scoring for her fourth shutout of the season.

“It felt incredible,” Cutler said. “Midd beat us in the quarterfinals last year too, so it was such a meaningful win for us to finally show up and beat them cleanly.”

Not finished yet, the purple and white took the field the next day against Trinity for the 2016 NESCAC championship title.
At the beginning of the contest, there was a lot of back and forth. However, Trinity was able to get a shot into the back of the net at 10:52 to make the score 1-0. The purple and white were unable to tie the score for the remainder of the first half.

However, in the second half, Amherst came out firing again. In the 52nd minute, Hayley Roy ’20 sent a pass to Tamen who scored the tying goal, her sixth goal of the season.

With just five minutes remaining in regulation and the score still knotted at 1-1, a sequence of passes from Sloan Askins ’20 to Guzzi to Emily Hester ’17 resulted in the game-winning — and NESCAC championship-clinching — goal.

“I don’t really remember shooting,” Hester said. “I just remember getting knocked off balance and being surrounded by my teammates.”

Hester’s NSECAC tournament performance undoubtedly helped her secure second-team all conference accolades along with teammate Caleigh Plaut ’19.

Alongside Plaut and Hester, classmates Guzzi and Delancey King ’18 garnered first-team recognition for their performances this season.

Rounding out the honors was head coach Jen Hughes, who was named the NESCAC Coach of the Year for her team’s outstanding performance this season.

With the league title under their belts, Amherst gets an automatic bid to NCAA action. This will mark the team’s sixth straight appearance in the national tournament, and 16th overall since 1994.

The purple and white hope to extend their winning streak all the way to the National Championship. They take their first step when they host the first round of NCAA play on Saturday morning, facing Lasell University at 11 a.m. on Gooding Field.