Fall Season: Sports Recaps
Issue   |   Fri, 05/18/2012 - 13:33
Rob Mattson
Spencer Noon '13 set a new program record with 20 goals, including a bicycle-kick that proved the difference in a 2-0 win over Trinity to capture the NESCAC title.

The women’s golf team, which has evolved into one of the premier Division III squads in the country under the tutelage of head coach Michelle Morgan, achieved yet another strong season this year.

Under the leadership of captains Elaine Lin ’12 and Laura Monty ’12, the team earned four third place finishes, a second place finish and two tournament victories over the course of the fall and spring seasons. In addition to Lin and Monty, Nina Yoo ’12 and Liz Monty ’13 also posted some of the lowest scores on the team over the course of the year, and Kristen Lee ’14 developed into a dependable top five scorer, as well.

Despite losing Lin, Monty and Yoo, the team should still manage to remain dominant next year with the talented players returning to campus.

After earning a spot in the NESCAC Championship in the 2010-2011 season, the golf team had to rebuild after graduating key players Trip Wray ’11 and Mike Belkin ’11.

This year’s captain, Nate Belkin ’12, however, stepped into his role as team leader and helped the squad to nearly replicate the success of last season.

Highlighted by a third place finish at the Trinity Invitational to open the season and a first place finish to win the Little Three Championships and break Williams’ run of 14 straight titles, this season certainly had its great moments. In addition to Belkin, several golfers made important contributions throughout the season, including Mark Colp ’12, Alex Butensky ’13 and Nicholas Koh ’14. While the Jeffs finished one spot away from qualifying for NESCACs, next year’s team should be primed to make a strong run to the tournament.

Field Hockey
The field hockey team enjoyed one of the most successful regular seasons in program history this year and ended the season with an impressive 15-4 mark, including an 8-2 record within the NESCAC.

Yet, Middlebury College proved to be the nemesis that the Jeffs could not surpass, as the Panthers defeated Amherst in the NESCAC semifinals and then again in the NCAA quarterfinals.

All of the Jeffs’ losses, including these heartbreakers, were by one goal, indicating that this squad could compete with the best in Division III.

Key contributors on the team included three time All-America selection and co-captain Carly Dudzik ’12, Katie McMahon ’13 and goalie Rachel Tannenbaum ’15. McMahon set the school’s all-time mark with 120 points, while Tannenbaum led the country with a remarkable .901 save percentage in just her first year for the Jeffs.

After going 6-2 and losing to Williams at Pratt Field to end the 2010 season on a bitter note, the football team was mo tivated for revenge in 2011.

The squad’s focus and determination paid off, as the Jeffs went 8-0 for the program’s second undefeated season in the last three years. After a shaky first half that saw the Jeffs fall behind Bates in the season opener, quarterback Blake Grauer ’12 filled in admirably for starter Brian McMahon ’12, who went down with an injury in the preseason.

Grauer combined with NESCAC Offensive Player of the Year and running back Eric Bunker ’12 to form a dual threat that peaked as the season progressed, eventually posting 66 points over the final two games against Trinity and Williams.

On the defensive side of the ball, Kevin Ferber ’12 had a historic season with 11.0 sacks and was the first player in Amherst history to be named to the D3football.com All-America first team, an incredible accomplishment.

Women’s Soccer
Coming into the season as a relatively unknown entity, the women’s soccer team exploded onto the national scene as one of the premier teams in the nation, enjoying perhaps the best season in program history.

The Jeffs went 20-1-0, with their only loss coming to eventual national champion Messiah in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.

However, prior to that game, the team earned a victory over previously undefeated Johns Hopkins in NCAAs and defeated Williams in the NESCAC Finals in dramatic fashion, coming back from a late deficit to win 2-1.

Among several other storylines, the season will be remembered for Sarah Duffy ’14 transforming into an elite goal scorer, as she led the NESCAC in goals and assists.

In addition, Kathryn Nathan ’13 was named NESCAC Co-Player of the Year, and defensive stalwarts Jill Kochanek ’12 and goalkeeper Allie Horwitz ’12 earned All-America honors on the defensive side of the ball.

Men’s Soccer
The men’s soccer team began the season with a flourish, going 11-0-2 in their first 13 games en route to a 16-2-2 final record that included a NESCAC championship and a pair of NCAA Tournament wins before falling to Stevens Institute of Technology by a 2-1 score.

The return of Jae Heo ’14 from a two-year military service in South Korea sparked the Jeffs’ offense, as Heo and All-American and NESCAC Player of the Year Spencer Noon ’13 combined for a potent attacking combination that led the NESCAC in scoring offense.

The defense was anchored by Lennard Kovacs ’12, who graduates with 32 shutouts to his name. With all but one of its goal scorers returning next season, the Jeffs should be able to continue finding the net at a high rate in 2012.

Coming off its second NESCAC title in the past four years, next season promises to be exciting as the Jeffs push closer to a National Championship.

The women’s tennis team had an impressive fall despite dropping their only duel match to archrival Williams, 3-6. In the three tournaments that followed, the Jeffs slotted impressive victories led by doubles tandem Jordan Brewer ’14 and Laura Danzig ’14.

In the 2011 USTA/ITA New England Championship, Brewer and Danzig captured the doubles crown with impressive victories over NESCAC rivals Middlebury and Williams in the semifinals and finals, respectively.

The following week, the duo dominated the Gail Smith Doubles Tournament at Middlebury, before closing out their fall season by winning the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Tennis Tournament at home.

Though the fall season is always only a warm-up for the spring, the Jeffs efforts were still undoubtedly impressive.

Coming off the program’s first-ever National Championship, the men’s team began their title defense in strong form this fall. Sophomore Joey Fritz won the singles title at the men’s ITA New England Championship, battling back after dropping the first set to beat Williams’ Matt Micheli (2-6) 6-0 6-4.

The following week, the men’s team traveled south and beat Johns Hopkins Univ. and Carnegie Melon Univ., 6-3 and 8-1, respectively. The next weekend, the Jeffs topped MIT, 8-1.

In search of its second title in two years, the top-ranked Jeffs certainly began their season in the right fashion.

After a 2010 season that included an incredible 16-game winning streak and a 25-4 composite record, the 2011 volleyball team had big shoes to fill.

The squad, however, managed to come together in an impressive fashion to rebound from the loss of several key seniors in the Class of 2011 and reached the 20 win plateau for the sixth consecutive year, compiling a record of 20-7.

Although the team’s bid for an NCAA Tournament spot was ended with a loss to Trinity in the NESCAC quarterfinals, several individuals had great campaigns nonetheless.

Cristy Meier ’12 played a key role as outside hitter, while KC Kanoff ’12 had a strong season to end her Amherst career with over 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs.

Kristin Keeno ’13 also pushed the Jeffs’ defensive play to a higher level, leading the NESCAC with 6.23 digs per set.
As the Jeffs lose three important attackers to graduation, coach Sue Everden will look for more improvement from her returning players to continue the streak of 20 win seasons next year.

Cross Country
The women’s cross country team had a very successful season, nearly matching their eighth place finish at the NCAA national championship in 2010.

Although the Jeffs came in 11th this year, they return six of their top seven runners to form a squad that should be even more dangerous in 2012.

Most notably, Keri Lambert ’13 came into her own this year, capping off a series of remarkable performances with a fifth place finish at the NCAA national championship to earn All-America honors.

In addition to Lambert, Ali Simeone ’13 and Melissa Sullivan ’12 sparked the Jeffs in many meets. With their sights set on a top 10 finish in 2012, the Jeffs should be ready to bring the program to a new level next year.

After losing an exceptional senior class, the men’s cross country team was forced to revamp its approach in 2011 to avoid taking a step back.

Indeed, the young squad exceeded expectations and finished in sixth place in a field of 44 teams at the ECAC Championships and eighth in a field of 48 squads at NCAA Regionals to finish the season.

Led by seniors Alec Jacobson, Ben Scheetz and Geoff Ainslie, this squad also boasted many fast young runners, including Dillon Buckley ’13, Patrick Grimes ’13 and Andrew Erskine ’13, along with a bevy of talented sophomores and first-years that should contribute and progress more in seasons to come.