Women's Soccer Improves to 7-1 On Season
Issue   |   Tue, 09/30/2014 - 23:04
Rob Mattson
Junior defender Jessy Hale recorded her first assist on the year this past weekend against Tufts in Amherst’s 2-0 win.

The Amherst women’s soccer team upped its win streak to five as it captured two more victories over the weekend. After jumping to the No. 18 spot in the NCAA Coach’s Poll following last week’s undefeated weekend, the Jeffs rolled into the weekend ready to continue their success. In the first of the doubleheader, Amherst (7-1-0, 4-1-0) defeated Tufts (6-1-0, 3-1-0) who had entered Saturday’s contest as the top-ranked team in the NESCAC.

“We knew we had to win that game to make a statement to the rest of the conference,” said senior co-captain Mel Stier. “It was a tough environment to play in because it was their homecoming, but we really took control of the game in the second half.”

Though Tufts held an 8-5 shot edge over Amherst in the first period, both teams remained scoreless. The Jeffs came out strong in the second half, increasing defensive pressure and not allowing a single shot attempt from Tufts.

In the 62nd minute, Amherst finally broke through, as junior Megan Kim netted her third goal of the 2014 season off an assist from fellow junior Rachael Abernethy. First-year scoring machine Hannah Guzzi connected on one of her four shot attempts to propel the Jeffs to a 2-0 lead with seven minutes remaining. Jessy Hale ’16 recorded the assist.

“In the second half against Tufts, we came out with a lot more energy than we had in the first half,” Guzzi said. “Our defense played really well and didn’t allow Tufts to get a single shot in the second half. We started connecting and playing to feet, and we controlled possession for the rest of the game.”

The Jumbos topped the Jeffs in first-half corner kicks, but Amherst responded in the second half, edging Tufts in corner kicks 8-0. Junior goalkeeper Holly Burwick made one save in the 2-0 victory, as Amherst recorded their sixth straight shutout on the season.

In Sunday’s home match, Amherst defeated Bates (6-3-0, 3-3-0) by a score of 2-1. Guzzi delivered another phenomenal performance, netting her team-high sixth goal of the season. She was able to convert with the help of Quinn Phillips ’17, who assisted the goal on a cross in the 22nd minute. Abernethy followed suit 20 minutes later to propel the Jeffs to a 2-0 lead going into halftime. Those two goals would be just enough to lift the Jeffs over the Bobcats.

“Bates had been on a winning streak, and they always play us well,” Stier said. “I don’t think the score accurately reflected the game, and we should have put a few more chances away in the first half.”

Amherst posted a decisive advantage on shots, 29-5, and corner kicks, 7-1, but the Bobcats would not go down easily.

In the 69th minute, Bates’ Dakota Donovan placed a ball between the Amherst posts to slice the score in half. Burwick registered three saves in the matchup, and the Jeffs were able to hold off Bates to clench their seventh win of the season.

“These were two big NESCAC games for us, so we’re happy to come away from the weekend with two wins,” Abernethy said. “We did a lot of things well, including coming out strong and maintaining our level of play for most of the game. Now we need to put together a full 90 minutes and make sure we finish the opportunities on goal that we are working hard to create. Both wins were a total team effort so it feels really good to be a part of that.”

The Purple and White return to action on Hitchcock field this Saturday, Oct. 4 for a conference-game against Hamilton. Currently, the Jeffs sit in second place in the NESCAC, only behind Bowdoin. The Polar Bears handed Amherst its lone loss on the season on Sept. 13, and the Jeffs hope to ride its five-game winning streak into their second half of the season.