Field Hockey Advances in NESCAC Tournament in Overtime Thriller
Issue   |   Wed, 11/04/2015 - 00:18

The Amherst College field hockey team finished the week with a victory in the first round of the NESCAC tournament, trumping archrival Williams, 2-1, in an exciting overtime win.

Prior to the post-season tournament, the Jeffs clinched four regular season wins in the last two weeks, which helped to gain momentum for the playoffs. These wins include a blowout homecoming victory over Wesleyan.

After defeating Smith by a 3-1 margin on Thursday, Oct. 22, the team prepared for an exciting senior day and homecoming battle against Little Three rival Wesleyan. Though Wesleyan stood at the bottom half of the NESCAC, their victory over Tufts in the regular season made them an unpredictable opponent. The Jeffs fell short to the Jumbos earlier in the regular season.
Four first-half goals from Amherst put this uncertainty to rest.

Annie Turnbull ’16 put the first point on the board in the 11th minute, assisted by her sister, sophomore Elizabeth Turnbull. Katie Paolano ’16 put away the next one just two minutes later.

Sophomore midfielder Mary Grace Cronin slammed a shot to the bottom right off of an Annie Turnbull assist in the 18th minute to make it 3-0. Turnbull went on to score one of her own, just six minutes later.

In the second half, senior Annika Nygren dished out two scoring passes to both Caroline Fiore ’18 and Kendall Codey ’19 to widen the score to 6-0.

Lead scorer Sarah Culhane ’17 added the last point to Amherst’s lead off of an assist from sophomore Katie Bergamesca.
The win marked Amherst goalie Emily Horwitz’s ’17 fifth shutout of the season.

The Jeffs then went on to play Trinity that Thursday and came up with a 5-1 win, with highlight play by a ruthless Nygren, who scored four goals in the match. The game concluded the regular season, and the field hockey team took the number four seed in the NESCAC tournament, and was matched up against No.5 rival Williams.

After a rocky and slightly uncertain season, and a 4-0 regular season victory of the Ephs, the Jeffs came into the first round of the NESCAC tournament with a lot to prove. With both teams holding the same record, it was an important battle that was bound to come down to the wire.

A scoreless first half was characterized by strong defensive play from both sides, and an inability to put the ball into the back of the net. The Ephs led the Jeffs with 10 shots to five, and Amherst highlight play included an incredible shot block in the last few remaining minutes by junior Sydney Watts and near-goals by Turnbull ’18 and captain Paolano.

Amherst took the lead early in the second half, when Fiore fired a pass into the circle straight into the stick of Sarah Culhane, who was able to redirect the ball past the Eph keeper.

Williams struck back with just more than 10 minutes to play in the match, and the score remained 1-1 until the end of regulation.

Just three minutes into overtime, Culhane once again found the back of the net. After first getting blocked by the Williams keeper, Culhane stuck to the rebound and was able to put it away on the second chance.

Amherst returns to the NESCAC semifinals for the fifth time in the past six seasons, to play top-seeded Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine at 11 a.m. this Saturday.