Standout Spotlight
Issue   |   Wed, 09/04/2013 - 10:42

The arrival of the Class of 2017 can only mean that fall has arrived, and, as surely as the foliage will soon change colors, the Jeffs will soon return to doing what they do best: dominating the NESCAC. 2012-13 was another banner year for Amherst athletics, complete with the championship finishes (including a national title for the Men’s Basketball team) that have come to be commonplace in recent years. Still, if it’s possible to top last year’s success, we have every reason to believe that this year’s outfits — led, of course, by the Class of 2014 — will find a way.

True, the big story in the sports world on campus this fall is the inauguration of the new Pratt Field, but the always-promising football squad is only the beginning of the fun. Now that you’ve seen what the Jeff teams will have to offer, we bring you eight individual players that will make you want to come out to the game, no matter how far behind you are on that paper.

Julien Aoyama
In order for the 2012 Jeffs to win the NESCAC and make a thrilling run in the NCAA tournament, lots of key pieces had to be in place. Perhaps none was bigger than Julien Aoyama ’14, who anchored the defense and turned out to be one of the most dangerous and versatile backs around — his First Team All-America selection proves just that. Besides once again leading NESCAC defenders in points (which he did last year), the senior would like nothing better than to go out with back-to-back titles on Hitchcock Field.

Lizzy Briskin
With much of the attention last year on record-shattering alumna Keri Lambert ’13, junior Lizzy Briskin flew (or should we say “ran?”) largely under the radar. In her first full year of competition, however, Briskin put together a formidable sophomore campaign, most notably posting top-10 finishes at the James Early Invitational and the Little III Championship. She was rewarded for her efforts with an all-NESCAC selection, and, having gained valuable experience, she returns as one of the team’s leaders.

Jake O’Malley
With Mass. native Jake O’Malley ’14 as a principal target, the Jeffs’ offense should have little trouble lighting up the new Pratt Field with its aerial assault. As a junior, O’Malley led the Jeffs in both receiving yards (380) and receptions (34), with five of those catches accounting for 87 yards in a 23-20 victory over Williams. At 6’3,” he is a physical player — and a clutch one, at that, given his second-half surge last year — who is tough to defend, and he promises to be at the center of what the Jeffs hope is a return to the top.

Alex Philie
Midfielder Alex Philie ’14 was one of four all-NESCAC selections for the Lady Jeffs in 2012, furthering her track record as a consistent and invaluable contributor over the course of her Amherst career. The two-time all-conference pick totaled a career-high 17 points last year and was second on the team with five assists. After seeing her team drop a tough overtime game in the NESCAC semifinal a year ago, Philie and her fellow seniors will have championship expectations again in 2013.

Amanda Brisco
In 2012, the Lady Jeffs dropped a heartbreaker to a stacked Bowdoin squad in the NESCAC semifinals but still gained an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament, and Amanda Brisco ’14 was a big reason why. A First Team All-NESCAC selection, Brisco finished the season tied for the league lead in total points with 22. The 2010 Rookie of the Year also scored three of the Lady Jeffs’ four goals in the NESCAC playoffs, and she will lead the charge to get past the Polar Bears this time around.

Jordan Brewer
Senior Jordan Brewer racked up an impressive list of accolades in 2012-13 to go along with her team’s 15-match winning streak and run to the NCAA Semifinals. In the fall, Brewer and teammate Gabby Devlin ’14 took home the Stony Brook Invitational doubles title. Then, in the spring, Brewer was a First Team All-NESCAC selection for both singles and doubles. Ultimately, she also earned an invitation to the NCAA Singles Championship.

Nicholas Koh
Last year, the Jeffs capped their spring season with a first-place tie with Williams for the Little III Championship. That was the team highlight of the year for Nicholas Koh ’14, but his individual pinnacle may have come in October, when he earned First Team All-NESCAC honors. Shooting a two-day total of 149, Koh placed fifth overall and was able to join just five other players on the first team. As one of two returning seniors on the team, Koh’s precision on the course is sure to be as surgical as ever.

Nicole Carter
The story of the Firedogs’ season in 2012 was the sensational play of their first-years, so it’s fitting that Nicole Carter should be the only sophomore of our featured fall athletes. The setter was rock-solid in her rookie year, tallying an impressive 700 assists out of the team’s total of 833. Undoubtedly one of her team’s most consistent and valuable players, Carter, of course, is not a rookie anymore; her experience should make her and the Firedogs, who were 14-9 last fall, doubly dangerous.