A Year in Review: Spring Sprots
Issue   |   Fri, 05/23/2014 - 11:57
Photo courtesy of Niahlah Hope'15

The baseball team returned to NCAA Div. III Regionals this spring for the second straight season. After qualifying for the NESCAC Championships as the second seed in the west division, the Jeffs saw their chances of a repeat conference title crumble before their eyes, as they lost 9-5 to Tufts and 4-2 to Bates the next day.

However, the team’s 30-11 record earned them an at-large bid for NCAA Regionals in the Ithaca Region. Third-seeded Amherst took down sixth-seeded Stevens 4-3 on the first day of play and upset second-seeded Kean 7-1 on the second. The Jeffs’ postseason run came to an end when they lost two one-run games to Cortland and Kean.

Catcher Conner Gunn ’16 and pitcher John Cook ’15 were both named to the All-Tournament team for their performances. This season Cook boasted a 5-3 record with a 1.95 ERA. Seniors Dylan Driscoll and Quinn Saunders-Kolberg also had successful seasons on the mound, going a combined 12-3. Notably, senior Fred Shepard threw just the third no-hitter in program history to give head coach Brian Hamm his 100th career win. Against Fontbonne, Shepard pitched seven innings, striking out four and walking two.

The team will be losing nine seniors, including Taiki Kasuga, Alex Hero, Driscoll and Saunders-Kolberg, so Gunn and fellow sophomore hope to step up to the plate and continue their hot bats for Amherst next spring.

Men’s Golf
After a strong fall season, the men’s golf team spring campaign fell flat. Led by James Line ’16, the Jeffs qualified for the NESCAC Championships in the fall, placing third out of the ten teams in the conference. However, the team couldn’t seem to find its rhythm come spring, finishing last by over 30 strokes in the conference championships.

Captain Nicholas Koh ’14 had Amherst’s top finish at 12th, as he shaved off three strokes from day one to day two, while Line, Josh Moser ’15, Harrison Marick ’17 and Jarvis Sill ’15 brought up the rear of the competition. Despite this less-than-stellar performance, the season did have a bright spot when Moser brought home the individual crown at the Westport Hampton Inn Invitational, helping the Jeffs clinch the team title as well. Line finished seventh with a two-day total of 159, and first-year Liam Fine earned tenth place to round out the top-10.

The team will be losing two seniors, Koh and Erik Hansen, but the returning golfers will look to get a better shot at the conference title next Spring.

Women’s Lacrosse
With just two losses to date, both at the hands of NESCAC foe Trinity, the fifth-ranked women’s lacrosse team is currently sitting pretty in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament, where they will face second-ranked Salisbury on Saturday, May 24 at 4 p.m.

After jumping out to a 14-0 start — the best in program history — Trinity handed the Jeffs a 7-4 loss in the team’s regular season finale. As the No. 2 seed in the NESCAC tournament, Amherst powered past Bowdoin and Williams, both for the second time this season, before squaring off against Trinity in the conference finals. The team would see the same fate, this time losing by a score of 10-7.

However, the Jeffs nearly spotless record earned them an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament, where their success has continued thus far, with wins over Bridgewater State, York and TCNJ.

With head coach Chris Paradis at the helm and senior captains Krista Zsitvay, Alex Philie and Elizabeth Ludlow leading the offense, Amherst hopes to bring home its second ever national championship.

Men’s Lacrosse
Coming off of a disappointing 2013 season (5-10), the men’s lacrosse team turned things around for 2014 with a 15-5 record. The Jeffs advanced to the NESCAC Finals for the first time in program history and also earned their first-ever NCAA Tournament bid.

Quinn Moroney had a stand-out sophomore season, racking up 112 points from 80 assists and 32 goals. The sophomore along with Kane Haffey ’16 and senior captain Devin Acton led the offense, as the team scored 277 total goals this season and averaged 14 goals per game.

Though they didn’t capture the NESCAC title, the Jeffs proved that they are true contenders, as they tied the score up at nine in the third period of the NESCAC finals before Tufts pulled away for its fifth straight crown.

Amherst saw a similar course of events in the second round of the NCAA tournament against ninth-ranked Union. Once again, the Jeffs had a 9-9 tie in the third before Union went on an 8-2 run to send the Jeffs packing.

Next season, the Jeffs will be losing Acton and fellow senior Aaron Mathias, and the team will continue to turn to Moroney and Haffey for their consistent offense.

Outdoor Track and Field
The men’s outdoor track and field team seemed to be constantly at the middle-of-the-pack this past season, finishing eighth of 11 at the NESCAC Championships, 12th of 32 at Div. III New Englands and 35th out of 57 at the ECAC Championships.
At ECACs, Dan Crowley placed fifth in the 5,000 meter for Amherst’s best finish of the meet. First-year Raymond Meijer also went the distance in the 10,000 meter for sixth place.

Of note, at the NEICAA Outdoor Championships, Brent Harrison ’16, Steven Lucey ’17, Romey Sklar ’15 and Kevin Connors ’17 set a meet record with a time of 7:33.28 in the 4x800 relay.

Senior captain Matt Melton continued the momentum from his indoor season with first-place finish in the 400 meter dash at the Little Three Championships and a runner-up finish at Div. III New Englands.

After finishing third at the Little Three Championships and eighth out of 11 at the NESCAC Championships, the women’s track and field team picked things up for the post season, finishing 11th out of 33 at Div. III New England Championships and 13th out of 61 in the ECAC Championships.

Naomi Bates ’14 won the long jump and set a new program record with a 5.99 meter leap at the New England Championships. This record also marked the best jump in Div. III this season.

Bates set two more program records at the NEICAA Championships in both the 100 and 200 meter dash. First-year Kiana Herold broke the program’s high jump record, as she cleared 1.70 meters for third place in the meet.

Bates and Herold along with Karen Blake ’17 and Taylor Summers ’16 are set to compete in the NCAA Div. III Championships, hosted by Ohio Wesleyan, May 22-24.

The softball team failed to qualify for the NESCAC Championships for the second season in a row, going 6-6 in the conference.

The season was a bumpy road for the Jeffs, as their longest win streak was only five games. The team opened with an 11-2 record but ended their season on a 6-6 skid.

However, there were some highlights, including a 13-2 win over Williams that featured home runs from both Donna Leet ’15 and Brianna Cook ’16. The team also had back-to-back wins against Wesleyan in March thanks to a perfect weekend by senior Kaitlin Silkowitz. The team captain went 5-6, scoring six runs and batting in two.

Junior Kelsey Ayers also had a successful season at the plate, batting 0.475 and knocking in 28 runs, as did first-year Alena Marovitz, who recorded 33 hits and three home runs in her rookie season.

On the mound, Jackie Buechler ’17 led the way with a 12-6 record and 2.01 ERA. Fellow first-year and starting pitcher Lauren Tuiskula also had an impressive debut season with a 2.89 ERA and 4-2 record.

Women’s Tennis
It was yet another outstanding year for the women’s tennis team, going undefeated in the NESCAC and losing only three matches this spring — one of them being the NCAA Championship match to Emory.

After powering past Middlebury in the NESCAC semifinals and Williams in the finals, the Jeffs captured their ninth conference title and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

With a first round bye, the team rolled past Endicott and MIT 5-0 in the second and third rounds, respectively. In the quarterfinals, they had little trouble against Carnegie Mellon with a 5-1 victory.

The semifinals was another match-up that will go down in the record books of the storied Amherst-Williams rivalry. The Jeffs secured the three doubles matches, heading into singles with an important advantage.

However, the Ephs would not go down easily, as they responded with four straight singles wins to take the 4-3 lead. Sarah Montegagudo tied things up at four all with a 7-6, 6-4 after being down 5-0 in the first set of her match. The deciding match fell upon senior Gabby Devlin in the second singles spot. After splitting the first two sets 6-7, 6-3, the third was headed to a tiebreaker to determine which team would advance to the NCAA finals. Delvin led 8-7 in the tiebreaker when her opponent, Linda Shin doublefaulted on the final point, giving Amherst the victory.

The Jeffs would go on to face top-ranked Emory in the finals, where they lost 5-1, ending their championship run and settling for their third runner-up finish in the past six years.