Women’s Soccer Fights Tough Against Williams
Issue   |   Tue, 09/24/2013 - 23:25
Megan Robertson '15, Public Affairs Office
Sarah Zuckerman ’17 and the Jeffs host Tufts at noon on Saturday after tying the Williams Ephs.

The Amherst Women’s Soccer defense maintained its impressive stinginess this week, helping goalkeeper Holly Burwick ’16 keep two clean sheets against Springfield College and Williams College. The Jeffs comfortably swept Springfield, 4-0, in a midweek nonconference game, but the Jeffs were unable to find the net in Williamstown. The result was a scoreless double-overtime draw.

On Wednesday, Amherst appeared to have found the offensive spark they were looking for after scoring only once in their first two games. Four different players scored for the Jeffs, who beat the Springfield keeper twice in each half. The Jeff defense extended their season-long shutout streak to three games with a joint effort in goal between Burwick and Meghan Mills ’15.

Kate Sisk ’14 scored Amherst’s first goal of the match in the 19th minute with a long strike that capped an opening stretch in which Amherst controlled the game, outshooting Springfield 3 to 1. Megan Kim ’16 added another tally in the 30th minute when she finished a breakaway run with a low shot. The Jeffs made the most of their chances in the second half. Two goals scored by Hannah Cooper ’14 and Chloe McKenzie ’14, in the 62nd and 70th minutes respectively, were the team’s only recorded shots in the period. In the end, Springfield’s 11-8 advantage in shots and 5-0 edge in corners did not matter, as Amherst coasted to their second win of the year.

Amherst traveled to Williamstown on Saturday, looking to avenge last year’s only regular season defeat.
“The Williams game is always a battle and this year was no different,” said head coach Jen Hughes. “The stats were nearly identical and I thought that was pretty representative of the game.”
In fact, Amherst took 12 shots, seven of them on goal, to Williams’ 13 shots, five of which were on target, while both teams won five corners.

“Each team gained momentum at different times,” said Hughes. “I think the game could have gone either way. We both had some really good chances to put the game away.”

Williams threatened first, when Audrey Thomas released Kristi Kirshe with a through ball, but Kirshe’s shot went wide. A couple of Amherst’s best opportunities came in the closing moments of regulation, as Sarah Duffy ’14 and McKenzie were able to play dangerous balls into the Williams box. The active goalkeeping of Williams’ Hannah Van Wetter preserved the tie game. Both teams put together an exciting second overtime. On one end, Van Wetter knocked off a dangerous Amherst pass into the box that would find McKenzie’s feet, but nothing came of it. Williams immediately manufactured a chance for Thomas on the other end, but Burwick came up with an impressive save.

So far this season, the Jeffs have played over 400 minutes without conceding a marker, with Burwick in goal the whole time, besides the waning moments of the Springfield victory. She has had to make 21 saves to preserve the streak.

“Our defense is playing lights out,” commented Hughes. “Our veterans have provided amazing leadership in the back and some new players have stepped up to fill in some holes. Hopefully, we can start putting the ball in the back of the net more consistently, starting with Tufts this weekend.”

The week’s results leave Amherst 2-0-2 overall and 1-0-2 in NESCAC play, which is good enough for fourth place at this early juncture of the season, behind Trinity, Bowdoin and Middlebury. Considering that they have already played Bowdoin and Middlebury, as well as the defending champion Williams, the Jeffs can perhaps expect to use a favorable schedule to gain traction on the leaders in the upcoming weeks. They are scheduled to host Tufts (2-2, 1-1 NESCAC) at noon on Saturday and travel to Bates on Sunday for a noon contest as well (2-3-1, 1-2-1 NESCAC).