Field Hockey Collects Two Big Conference Wins Before Falling in OT to Bowdoin
Issue   |   Tue, 10/16/2012 - 23:51
Niahlah Hope '15, Public Affairs Office
Alex Philie ’14 has played a pivotal role for the Jeffs this season both offensively (13 points) and defensively.

Field hockey rebounded in a big way from two straight overtime losses, beating archrival Williams 3-2 at home on Oct. 6.

The Lord Jeffs continued their winning ways against Colby with a decisive 6-0 victory on Saturday only to fall in overtime yet again on Sunday, this time to highly-ranked Bowdoin.

Coming into the Williams game riding a three-game losing streak for the first time since 2006, the team started the game the dominant side, winning five penalty corners within the first 10 minutes alone.

On the fourth of those corners, the team almost went ahead when Madeline Tank ’15 redirected a shot just wide with Williams goalkeeper Ariana Spiliotes sprawled out in front of net.

Despite coming out weaker, the Ephs struck first in the 23rd minute off their only penalty corner of the half. Quick passing led to Annie VanWagenen receiving the ball down low with her back to goal, and she fired into the right corner to take the lead.

Just over a minute later, VanWagenen struck again, receiving a pass from her left at the top of the cage and ripping a high shot that beat Rachel Tannenbaum ’15 to her left side.

Amherst refused to quit and kept up the high pressure. Co-captain Krista Zsitvay ’14 had a flip shot acrobatically saved by Spiliotes, who reached above her head to bat the ball away with her stick.

With less than 30 seconds remaining in the half, slick combination play off of a corner led to Nomi Conway ’13 hitting a shot that Spiliotes dove to block. With the goalie down, Conway’s rebound attempt was cleared off the line by a defender to keep the deficit at two going into halftime.

The team continued to dominate play in the second half, cranking up the defensive intensity to only allow one shot by the Ephs all half.

An offensive breakthrough seemed inevitable, and it came just minutes into the half when Zsitvay controlled a loose ball inside the circle after a penalty corner. She danced her way out of trouble to free up her shot before roofing the ball across the cage to her right, pulling the Lord Jeffs within one.

Momentum was clearly with the team, and in the 50th minute Kerry Fusco ’15 scored on a tap-in after nice work from Ellie Andersen ’15 to win the ball on the left post and send it across goal.

Madeline Tank ’15 completed the well-deserved comeback with nine minutes to go, hitting a low shot into the net. The Lord Jeffs outshot the Ephs 26-5 and had 23 corners.

With their conference record back at .500, the team played host to Colby, which was looking for its first conference win. The Lord Jeffs hadn’t lost to Colby in four tries and it showed on the field, as Amherst cruised to a six-goal victory.

Alex Philie ’14 started off a big personal day with a ninth-minute goal off of a rebound, and the team added three more goals before halftime in an offensive explosion that saw them record 23 shots.

Annika Nygren ’16 scored her first career goal off of a Philie assist at the 14:10 mark, while co-captain Katie McMahon ’12 added to her team lead in goals with numbers nine and 10.

Philie continued to factor in the scoring in the second half, assisting Tank early in the half before grabbing her second goal with a powerful shot off of a corner. The Lord Jeffs ended up with 29 shots and chased Colby’s starting goalie from the net after just 44 minutes.

Tannenbaum didn’t have to make a save as Colby managed just three shots, all off-target.

The team closed out the weekend against a powerful one-loss Bowdoin team ranked third in the nation and averaging 4.17 goals a game. Amherst was clearly overmatched on the day, but resolute defending and the heroics of Tannenbaum in net kept the game deadlocked through regulation.

The Bowdoin attack was relentless, outshooting the Lord Jeffs 35-4 and winning 18 penalty corners.

The post was Amherst’s friend throughout, as Bowdoin rattled the woodwork twice to no avail.

Tannenbaum recorded a season-high 17 saves, including a diving stop on a penalty stroke midway through the first half.

Bowdoin looked to have the game-winner in the 63rd minute, but Annie Turnbull ’16 came up with a huge block on the back post.

With seconds left in regulation, Bowdoin won a penalty corner and pressed forward, only to have Tannenbaum deny them once again with a spectacular double save.

Bowdoin finally found the net two minutes into overtime, when a shot rebounded to the back post, where an attacker received a short pass for a tap-in to end the game. The loss dropped the Jeffs to 4-4 in the NESCAC, good for sixth place in the conference standings.

The team looks to rebound at home against Smith on Thursday before facing Wesleyan (4-3 NESCAC) Saturday in an away game with key conference tournament seeding implications.