Zsitvay Goal Sets Up Rematch With Midd.
Issue   |   Wed, 10/31/2012 - 13:58

Field hockey continued their strong run of form last week after beating Conn. College 2-0 and winning a 3-2 double-overtime thriller in NESCAC quarterfinal play against 12th-ranked Trinity.

Conn. College entered the final regular-season game second to last in the NESCAC in goals per game and the 14th-ranked Lord Jeffs played hard defense throughout the game en route to their fifth shutout of the year. The teams ended up even with 11 shots apiece, but the Camels managed just five penalty corners, none of them coming in the second half.

On the offensive end, Madeline Tank ’15 got things rolling in the 13th minute. Off of a penalty corner, Tank got her stick on a shot from Alex Philie ’14 and deflected the ball into the corner to put the team up 1-0.

Katie McMahon ’13 added to her team lead near the end of the half after another penalty corner. Philie received the ball up top and slid it across to McMahon, who buried a low shot with 5:55 remaining before halftime for her 11th goal of the season.

Rachel Tannenbaum ’15 made 11 saves in goal for the Lord Jeffs, while Becca Napolitano had nine stops for Conn. College, seven of which came in the first half.

A hard-fought game was expected against Trinity, who beat Amherst 1-0 in overtime earlier this season. The Lord Jeffs won five out of six after that loss and the teams came into the quarterfinal with nearly identical records.

Amherst drew first blood on the afternoon when Annika Nygren ’16 put home a rebound in the fifth minute for her third collegiate goal. The rest of the first half was a cagey affair, with 11 total shots and two penalty corners total. Krista Zsitvay ’14 doubled the Amherst lead late in the half with a blast from long range that found its way by Anne Marie Scalambrino.

Trinity increased their offensive intensity in the second half, outshooting the Lord Jeffs 15-5 and winning six penalty corners. The Bantams got a goal back after just 90 seconds when Hadley Duncan beat Tannenbaum. Trinity pushed forward but couldn’t find an equalizer, setting up a dramatic finish to regulation.

With time ticking down, Tannenbaum made a nice kick save on a Duncan shot and in the aftermath, Trinity was given a penalty corner with no time remaining. The Bantams’ initial shot was saved, but in the ensuing scramble, Trinity fired multiple rebound attempts. Duncan was able to smack home her second such attempt in a crowded goalmouth to force overtime.

“It can be very challenging to regroup when an opponent ties the game with no time on the clock,” head coach Carol Knerr said. “In our huddle I told the team that they had to immediately forget about what just happened. We still had an opportunity to win the game and we had to refocus. The team came together and did just that.”

The first overtime saw both teams record four shots with no goals and the second overtime remained scoreless until the 92nd minute. McMahon received the ball up top off of a penalty corner and eventually passed to Zsitvay, who slid the ball into the corner to end the game.

In the end, Trinity outshot Amherst 26-16 and the Lord Jeffs had a 9-8 advantage in corners. The team got strong goalkeeping once again from Tannenbaum, who ended up with 16 saves.

After the game, Knerr noted that “Saturday was an amazing team effort” and singled out Zsitvay for her excellent play.

“Krista Zsitvay had an outstanding game,” Knerr said. “She was making 20-30 yard runs with the ball on her stick eliminating defenders at speed. She had a beautiful goal in regulation and finished a well-placed corner shot for the O.T. goal.”

With the win, the Lord Jeffs advance to the NESCAC semifinals for the third straight year. This year’s team is looking to advance to the finals for the first time since 2001 after losing in overtime for the past two semifinals. If the team is to get over the hump, it will be in large part due to the efforts of co-captain and career points leader McMahon.

“[McMahon] is playing exceptionally well and is leading the team by exuding enthusiasm and confidence. She is an absolute joy to coach,” Knerr said.

Amherst will face a tough matchup in the semifinals against Middlebury, who ended the Lord Jeffs’ season last year in the NCAA quarterfinals. Ranked first in the nation, the undefeated Panthers are currently riding an eight-game shutout streak, although the Lord Jeffs did score on them in their regular-season matchup. The semifinal will take place on Saturday at Middlebury.

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