Field Hockey Collects Wins Over Holyoke, Bates
Issue   |   Wed, 09/19/2012 - 01:06
Nialah Hope ’15, Public Affairs Office
Senior captain Katie McMahon’s 48 goals gives her the most in Amherst program history.

Field hockey continued their hot start to the season last week, crushing Mount Holyoke 8-1 before earning a 3-2 win over Bates. Katie McMahon ’13 paced the 11th-ranked Lord Jeffs against Mount Holyoke with a hat trick that left her as Amherst’s all-time leading scorer, while Madeline Tank ’15 scored the game-winner against Bates as the team battled back from two deficits to win their NESCAC opener and remain undefeated.

Mount Holyoke took the Lord Jeffs to overtime last year, but the Lyons had no answer for Amherst’s offensive firepower this time around. Ellie Andersen ’15 opened the scoring after just three minutes off an assist from McMahon, and two more quick goals from Sarah Canning ’14 and Krista Zsitvay ’14 had the team up 3-0 less than 20 minutes in.

McMahon tied the goal record with her first of the season and 46th of her career in the 27th minute. The Lord Jeffs tacked on another goal before halftime, and history was made at the 39:27 mark when McMahon dug out a rebound in front of net and put it away to break the record. The senior capped her night four minutes later, scoring off of a penalty corner to put Amherst up 7-0 and complete her hat trick.

McMahon, who is now the program leader in goals, points and assists, shared the credit after her performance.

“[The record] feels pretty great, but I think that it is also a testament to the caliber of my teammates and the quality of my coach…we have an incredible passing game that has given me many oppurtunities that I have been fortunate enough to capitalize on,” McMahon said. “I have had the privilege to play with amazing athletes in my three years here, which has fostered my success and challenged me to be better.”

The Lord Jeffs’ dominance allowed Coach Carol Knerr to turn to her bench, with Annika Nygren ’16, Catie Downey ’16 and Abigail Rose ’16 making their collegiate debuts. Claudia Easton ’14 and Sarah Wise ’15 each spent time in goal in relief of Rachel Tannenbaum ’15, who made three saves over the first 50 minutes.

The game against Bates was a much more hotly contested affair. The Lord Jeffs held an incredible 45-6 edge in shots and a 16-3 advantage in penalty corners, but Becca Otley’s 21 saves kept the Bobcats in the game. The home team struck first on their first shot of the game, as Bridget Meedzan hit a one-timer past Tannenbaum after five minutes.

The Lord Jeffs answered back through Zsitvay, who found herself with time and space at the top of the circle and lined up a shot that beat Otley up high. The tie lasted for all of three minutes, as Meedzan fired home for her second goal and a 2-1 Bates lead that would last until halftime. Amherst went into the half with 22 shots and one goal, while Bates had converted two of their three total shots.

Despite the frustrating circumstances, the Lord Jeffs regrouped during the break, focusing on maintaining their pressure. “We pride ourselves on our composure, but with some frustrating external uncontrollable we lost a little bit of our composure in our circle play near the goal,” McMahon said. “Our halftime speech was mostly aimed at reiterating our confidence in our abilities to accomplish the little things and in effect reach our end goal…We wanted to maintain our composure, while also adding a sense of urgency.”

The team’s pressure paid off five minutes into the second half when Andersen drove hard into the circle and beat Otley to her left. The Lord Jeffs continued to pepper the Bates’ goal with shots, and strong defense allowed only one shot by the Bobcats over a 25-minute stretch. With nine minutes left, Zsitvay’s 11th shot was saved by Otley but fell to Tank, who scored the game-winner.

Bates’ last chance came on a 63rd-minute penalty corner, but Tannenbaum saved Polly Merck’s effort to preserve the victory. Tannenbaum ended up needing to only make two saves over the full 70 minutes, a testament to the strong defense in front of her.

The Lord Jeffs will look to continue their winning ways at Springfield on Wednesday before returning home to face Hamilton on Saturday.