The Year in Sports: Spring Season
Issue   |   Thu, 05/18/2017 - 15:35
Amherst Athletics


Amherst baseball battled to a third-place NESCAC finish before losing their semifinal matchup to Tufts, 2-1. The team finished the season with a record of 20-16 overall and 8-4 in conference play. The Mammoth offense headlined the season and was led by Harry Roberson ’18, Anthony Spina ’17 and Yanni Thanopoulos ’17. The upperclassmen each hit above .400 and combined for 169 hits. Thanopoulos finished his senior season on a high note, earning his 190th career hit in the NESCAC tournament and surpassing Taiki Kasuga ’14 for the Amherst baseball career hits record. On the mound, senior Jackson Volle and junior Sam Schneider impressed for the Mammoths this season, pitching a combined 85 innings with ERAs of 3.02 and 2.56, respectively.

Men’s Lacrosse

After a deep postseason run by a young and talented team, the men’s lacrosse season ended with a loss at No. 3 Bates College in NCAA round of 16 action. Amherst finished their 2017 season 13-5 overall and 8-2 in competitive NESCAC play. Their biggest win this season came on senior night, when the men exploded for 25 points against No. 2 Tufts for a 25-15 win. At the end of the season, six players garnered All-NESCAC honors. Senior short-stick midfielder Matt Killian was named first team All-NESCAC after an impressive season in which he totaled 25 points on 14 goals and 11 assists in addition to picking up 59 ground balls and causing 16 turnovers. In addition, sophomores Evan Wolf (attack), Andrew Ford (midfield) and Jamie Smith (defense), as well as first-year Dylan Finazzo (faceoff) each earned second team All-NESCAC nods. Rounding out the accolades, first-year Colin Minicus was named NESCAC Rookie of the Year after a standout first year for the Mammoths. He is only the third player in program history to earn the award.

Women’s Lacrosse
Plagued with several season-ending injuries, the women’s lacrosse team had an uncharacteristic 6-9 season, going 3-7 in conference play. The Mammoths’ season ended with an 8-7 loss at top-seeded Middlebury in the NESCAC quarterfinals. The women put up an impressive effort to keep the game close against the Panthers, with three Mammoths — Kate Wyeth ’17, Kelly Karczewski ’18 and Julia Crerend ’18 — scoring two goals. Junior goalkeeper Kyra Gardner made 12 saves in the tight matchup. Highlighting the 2017 season were All-NESCAC Second Team selections Claire Cagnassola ’17 and Sabrina Solow ’19. Captain and leader in the Amherst midfield, Cagnassola racked up 20 goals and dished out six assists in Amherst’s shortened season. On the defensive side, Solow registered a team-high 33 ground balls and caused 25 turnovers in addition to eight draw controls. Not only were these two named All-NESCAC performers, but they also garnered IWLCA All-Berkshire region. The Mammoths will look to forward to a successful 2018 season with a young squad moving forward.

Women’s Golf
Women’s golf had a breakout spring highlighted by strong individual seasons from Morgan Yurosek ’20, Jessica Jeong ’20 and senior captain Jamie Gracie. After recording an exciting first-place finish at the Williams Spring Invitational, the Mammoths secured a bid to the NCAA Division III Championships in Houston, Texas. After spending the first two days tied for 5th, the Amherst women dropped several places to finish 9th in the nation. Yurosek led the Mammoths and finished the tournament tied for 15th overall with a combined score of 305 (77-78-74-76). Jeong finished tied for 20th overall with four-round total of 307 (77-73-76-81), and Gracie logged her best round of the NCAA tournament on the last day, carding an 80 to finish with a combined score of 331 (82-81-88-80). Yurosek and Gracie earned Regional recognition for their impressive seasons, as they were both named to the WGCA All-East Region team.

Men’s Golf
The men’s golf program gave their young team critical experience in a strong season this spring. The squad produced several impressive showings this April, finishing tied for third in the Hampton Inn Invitational and fourth in the Williams Spring opener. Coming up just short of Williams, the Mammoths grabbed second place in the Little III Championship, before finishing fourth in the NESCAC tournament. Leading the team were sophomore Jack Burlison and senior Liam Fine, who both garnered All-NESCAC Second Team honors. Rookie of the Year Cameron Clark ’20 also enjoyed a successful spring season, winning holes one and two in the Little Three Championship. With seven first years on the roster, the future looks bright for the Mammoths moving forward.

The only Amherst team still alive in NCAA play as of press time, the Mammoths have enjoyed a historic season thus far. After falling to archrival Williams in the NESCAC championship game, the team earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament and blew through their Springfield regional bracket in the first round of NCAA play. The women stand at 31-10 on the season thus far, and are slated to host Ramapo College for a three-game series in the round of 16 this weekend. The regional win in Springfield marked the first time in program history that the Mammoths have reached the round of 16 in NCAA play. The team had a phenomenal conference record of 10-2 this season, sweeping all of their NESCAC foes but Williams. Junior pitcher Gina Pagan has had a standout season, carrying the Mammoths through 144 innings pitched with a 1.31 ERA and striking out 150 batters. Her performance earned the California native NESCAC Pitcher of the Year. Other All-NESCAC honorees included sophomore Kyra Naftel, who was named to the first team, senior Lauren Tuiskula, who garnered second team honors, and Sammy Salustri ’19, who won Defensive Player of the Year.

Women’s Tennis
The women’s tennis team’s season ended in the NCAA Tournament Regional Final in a 5-0 loss against No. 2 Middlebury. The women have played a rigorous spring schedule, facing almost solely ranked teams and finishing 7-9 overall. Their most exciting win of the season came in early April, when they won a thrilling matchup against No. 7 Bowdoin by a score of 5-4. Standouts for the women’s team included NESCAC Rookie of the Year Camille Smukler, who garnered All-NESCAC Second Team honors for both her singles and doubles play. In addition, Kelsey Chen ’19 was also named to the All-NESCAC Second Team for her stellar doubles play this season.

Men’s Tennis
The Amherst men’s tennis team made a strong NCAA run this year before falling in a heartbreaking 5-3 matchup against Williams in the NCAA regional final. With the loss, Amherst concluded its 2016-2017 season with a 23-6 record. The Mammoths started their season with an undefeated spring break trip, and their first loss of the season came at the hands of No. 1 ranked Emory University in a close 5-4 finish. Amherst’s No. 1 doubles pairing of Zach Bessette ’19 and Jayson Fung ’20 led the team throughout the season, compiling a 12-5 record as one of the top pairings in the country. The purple and white posted a 6-2 regular season NESCAC record in a conference that boasted five of the top ten teams in the country. Bessette and Fung both garnered Second Team All-NESCAC honors in both singles and doubles play, while Fung also won the NESCAC Rookie of the Year crown.

Men’s Outdoor Track & Field
The men’s track and field team kicked off their outdoor season at the Tufts Snowflake Classic, in which Clark Ricciardelli ’20E signaled the beginning of his stellar outdoor track season by winning the 10,000-meter run. By season’s end, the transfer from Villanova had the team’s fastest time in the 10,000-meter run with a time of 31:02, which placed him third at Open New Englands. Ricciardelli also placed fifth at the NESCAC Championships in the 5,000 meters, and Cosmo Brossy ’19 placed fifth at the NESCAC Championships in the 10,000 with a new personal best time of 31:11.

Soccer standout Aziz Khan ’18 led the Mammoths in the short sprints, running times of 11.28 and 22.51 seconds in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, respectively. Maxim Doiron ’19 and Yonas Shiferaw ’20 led the hurdles events, while Jordan Edwards ’20 continued his success in the jumps from the indoor season to place seventh in the triple jump at the NESCAC Championships.

In a show of range, Kristian Sogaard ’19 led the team in the 400 and 800 meters, running excellent times of 49.00 seconds in the 400 and 1:50 in the 800, respectively. The sophomore, who competed at Nationals in cross country, will compete at Nationals next week in the 800 meters, for which he currently holds the sixth fastest time in the nation for Division III runners.

Women’s Outdoor Track and Field
The Mammoths hosted the Amherst Spring Fling for the third year in a row, where Abbey Asare-Bediako ’18 secured a trip to Nationals with a mark of 11.78 meters in the triple jump. Rubii Tamen ’19 ran the top times for the Mammoths in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes in 2017, with times of 13.00, 25.94 and 59.44 seconds, respectively. The Mammoths enjoyed nice depth in the steeplechase, where Savanna Gornisiewicz ended the season with a personal best time of 11:19, a top-five all-time mark for Amherst, Kristin Ratliff ’20 placed seventh at the NESCAC Championships, and Cat Lowdon ’17 qualified for the DIII New England Championships.

At the NESCAC Championships, Katherine Treanor ’20 placed second in the 10,000-meter run in 36:41. Senior Tess Frenzel continued her standout season by placing fifth in a time of 38:19, while Kiana Herold ’17 placed fourth in the high jump. Asare-Bediako ’18 placed third in the triple jump to earn All-NESCAC honors.

At the NEICAAA Championships, Treanor won again to replicate her indoor 5,000 meter title, running a new personal best time of 35:57 to qualify for Nationals. Next week, Asare-Bediako and Treanor will travel to Ohio to compete at Nationals, where the duo will be looking to improve on their finishing places from Indoor Nationals.