Women’s Soccer Starts Season Strong With Thrilling Overtime Victory
Issue   |   Tue, 09/13/2016 - 23:31
Amherst Athletics
Junior forward Hannah Guzzi has gotten off to an impressive start, scoring her first goal of the season in overtime against NESCAC rivals Bowdoin.

The Amherst women’s soccer team launched its 2016 campaign with two important wins, followed by a tough loss. At the home opener, the women defeated Mount Holyoke 2-0, and this past Saturday they upset NESCAC rival Bowdoin in overtime 2-1.

Last Tuesday, the purple and white overwhelmed the Lyons, outshooting them 22-3. After near misses from Hannah Guzzi ’18, Emily Hester ’17, Rubii Tamen ’19 and first-year Erin McClave, Ashlyn Heller ’17 was able to squeeze two past the goalie and into the net.

“Scoring two goals felt amazing but not because I was the one that put them in the back of the net,” Heller said. “Rather, our entire team had been working hard all preseason to put a product on the field that we could be proud of and those two goals were two amazing team goals that we could definitely be proud of.”
Other major contributors to the 2-0 win were Delancey King ’18, who provided the assist to Heller’s first goal, and Chelsea Cutler ’19, who saved all three shots Mount Holyoke took.

“I was definitely nervous in the days leading up to [our first game] but at the same time I was really ready to get out on the field and play,” Cutler said. “I have a lot of confidence in my team so it’s hard to be nervous when you have such good players on the field with you.”

On Saturday, the team trekked to Bowdoin and upset the Polar Bears 2-1 in overtime. Hester scored the first goal for Amherst just 7:38 into the contest.

Not too long after, Bowdoin answered with a game-tying goal. Though Bowdoin outshot the purple and white 15-5, Cutler was relentless in her efforts to keep Amherst in the game, finishing with five saves. It was by her immense effort that Amherst was able to keep the score tied as regulation came to a close. “It was definitely huge that we were able to get gritty and keep Bowdoin from scoring a second goal,” Cutler said. “Bowdoin really did put the pressure on us and every single Amherst player on the field had a huge contribution in our defensive effort.”

The 1-1 score sent the game into overtime. Though Bowdoin outplayed Amherst at times, the defensive grit the purple and white possessed was enough to curb the Polar Bears’ success. Finally, after battles up and down the field, Guzzi snuck one into the bottom right corner of Bowdoin’s goal with just a minute to spare to secure an Amherst victory in thrilling style.
“We lost sight of that AWS style of play: one and two touch passes, winning every 50-50 ball, effective and productive communication; this is why we had to grind out the overtime win”, Heller said.

“We feel confident that when we can put our style of play on the field for a full 90, we’ll be unstoppable.”

The team’s fortunes took a turn for the worse on Tuesday, as Amherst suffered a heart-breaking 1-0 defeat to Springfield College. In a thoroughly defensive affair, in which the teams mustered only four shots on goal apiece, a heartbreaking 86th minute goal from Springfield’s Meghan Sastram proved the difference. Even in the loss, several members of the purple and white impressed, most notably Cutler who added another three saves to her already impressive season total of 11 through three games and Guzzi who managed to get three shots off, one of which forced Springfield’s goalie into action.

Amherst looks to regain its momentum and improve on its 2-1-0 record on Saturday, Sept. 17 when they travel to Vermont to take on Middlebury at noon. The team then returns home to take on non-conference foe Wentworth on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 1 p.m.