Women's Soccer Shuts Out Pair of Opponents
Issue   |   Wed, 10/09/2013 - 00:31

Amherst women’s soccer, lifted by their sixth and seventh shutouts of the year, collected two away wins this week, defeating Mount Holyoke 4-0 and Hamilton 2-0.

The Jeffs owned a 2-1-2 NESCAC record entering Saturday’s clash with Hamilton, a mark that reflected the tense nature of their previous conference games; only one of which failed to go to overtime.

Hamilton entered the game with a 1-2-1 conference record.

Amherst threatened early when the Hamilton defense misplayed a back pass, leading to a shot on Continental goalkeeper Liza Gergenti.

The visitors broke through in the 17th minute, when Hannah Cooper ’14 deflected a corner kick to Jessy Hale ’16, who tapped it in from in front of the net. Amherst carried the 1-0 lead into halftime.

After being outshot 7-5 in the first half, Hamilton stepped up its pressure in the second half. The Continentals manufactured a couple one-on-one opportunities on keeper Holly Burwick ’16: first they fired wide from the left side, then Burwick came off her line to thwart a breakaway attempt from Continental Kendall Daly.

When asked to comment, Burwick commended the defense. “So far, our back line hasn’t allowed the other teams too many opportunities, so I haven’t had nearly as much work to do as I could easily have had at this point in the season. We’ve done a great job at cover defending, so we’ve really denied teams a lot of dangerous opportunities," Burwick said.

Hamilton continued to press the issue, as a cross bounced through the box to Becca Rees at the back post, but her header went wide. Amherst finally put the game away with just over six minutes remaining.

Sarah Duffy ’14 made a nice run down the end line, shaking off a defender and finishing with a close-range shot from a tough angle. The Jeff’s two-goal victory came despite a 15-12 edge in shots for Hamilton.

“Hamilton played a great game,” head Coach Jen Hughes said. “To be honest, they outplayed us. That said, we capitalized on our chances and stayed composed at the end of the game.”

Last Wednesday, in a rematch from earlier this season, Amherst beat Mount Holyoke 4-0.

In the first game, Amherst had a 6-0 lead on the Lyons until the game was cut short by lightning. This time, they were in control from the beginning.

They finished with a 34-5 advantage in shots, and, despite 14 saves from Holyoke keeper Zoe Marshall, the Jeffs scored twice in each half. Cooper opened the scoring in the 14th minute with an unassisted goal, then Megan Kim ’16 scored once on both sides of halftime, in the 21st minute on a Duffy assist and in the 58th from an Ariana Twomey ’15 pass. Sarah Frohman ’17 added the fourth marker, and her first collegiate goal, when she tucked a corner into the right side of the net in the 87th minute.

With the result, Amherst increased its winning streak against Mount Holyoke to 14 games.

Considering this week’s victories and last Sunday’s 3-0 win over Bates, the Jeff offense has scored at a more consistent pace than earlier in the season.

“I would attribute our recent goal scoring to creating better chances,” Hughes said. “I don’t think we created a lot of high percentage chances at the beginning of the season. We lacked an attacking mentality in our final third. We’ve really focused on cultivating a more attacking mentality — our strength over the past couple of seasons — in practices and it’s started to pay off in games. In short, we’re being more aggressive in our attack.”

Meanwhile, the team continues to impress defensively: the shutouts of Mount Holyoke and Hamilton mean that Tufts remains the only team to solve the Jeff back line.

“In general, our defense — all over the field ­— has been playing lights out and that has enabled us to weather pressure from our opponents,” Hughes said.

The wins bring Amherst to 5-1-2 overall and 3-1-2 in the NESCAC. Their conference record puts them in third place, within striking distance (4 points) of first-place Trinity. The Jeffs beat Eastern Conn. State 4-1 Tuesday and travel to Colby (1-4 NESCAC, 3-4 overall) on Saturday.