Women’s Soccer Tournament Run Comes to a Close in NCAA Sweet 16
Issue   |   Tue, 11/29/2016 - 23:47

The Amherst women’s soccer team finished a very successful season last Saturday, Nov. 19. Though they lost their final match to William Smith 4-2, the purple and white finished with an impressive record of 17-3-1 overall and 8-1-1 in conference, while also boasting the 2016 NESCAC championship title.

Last Saturday, the women traveled to Brandeis to take on top-seeded William Smith in the third round of the NCAA tournament. Unusually, the first two goals of the game were own-goals. At the 24:39 mark of the first half, Amherst’s Erin McClave ’20 took a shot that ricocheted off a William Smith defender and went into the back of the net. Five minutes later, William Smith took a shot that bounced off an Amherst defender and squeaked past goalie Chelsea Cutler ’19.

Soon after, star forward Hannah Guzzi ’18 recorded her 19th goal of the season off an assist from Ashlyn Heller ’17, giving Amherst a 2-1 lead. Though Guzzi took three more shots in the next 14 minutes, she could not get it past the opposing goalkeeper. Unfortunately, William Smith tied the score at two off a corner kick that resulted in a header to the far post, where one of the Herons’ easily tapped the ball into the net.

Though the score was even at two apiece after the first half, Amherst was never able to regain momentum. In the 58th minute, William Smith made it a 3-2 contest when one of their players took a perfect shot from the left side. Just one minute later, William Smith stormed back down the field and took another shot, uncontested, that found the back of the net, giving them an earned 4-2 lead. The remainder of the game was scoreless, and though Amherst fought hard, they could not make up the deficit.
Statistically William Smith led in shots, 14-12, though Amherst had more corner kicks, six, to the Herons’ four. Guzzi led all players in total shots with five, and Rubii Tamen ’19 collected three shots in the final game. Cutler made five saves in the matchup.

On the season overall, Guzzi tied the purple and white’s single-season goal record at 19 and set the program’s new record in most points in a single-season with 43.

Although the team looks poised to make a run for another NESCAC title next season with a well of returning talent, the purple and white will no doubt have to replace the production of this year’s senior class. Including Heller and Emily Hester ’17, who played and started 20 out of 21 possible games, and augmented by the poise provided by fellow seniors Emily Masten, Sarah Zuckerman and Sarah Frohman, the graduating class pushed Amherst women’s soccer to unsurpassed heights and set an enormously high bar for future classes.