Coming off one of the best years in school history, field hockey looks primed to continue their success this season with a strong group of returning players. The Lord Jeffs were three wins away from a national title last year, and they’ll try to improve on that mark while playing a challenging NESCAC schedule.

The field hockey team ended its impressive postseason run on Sunday when they lost to Middlebury 1-0 at Skidmore in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

After earning their at-large NCAA bid last Sunday night, the Jeffs hosted Gwynedd-Mercy College on Wednesday and delt them a decisive 7-0 shutout. Sarah McCarrick ’12, Katie McMahon ’13 and Madeline Tank ’15 each contributed a pair of goals, with Krista Zsitvay ’14 rounding out the Jeff’s offense with the seventh.

In the past week of action, the Jeffs ended their NESCAC run with a loss to Middlebury while extending their post-season by earning an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

On Saturday, the Jeffs fell to the Panthers 2-1 in overtime in the NESCAC semifinal game at Bowdoin. Amherst kicked things off at the five-minute mark when senior Carly Dudzik took advantage of a penalty stroke, firing a shot past Middlebury goalie Becca Shaw to put the Jeffs on top, 1-0.

In the past week, the Jeffs defeated Conn. College in their final regular season game and went on to take Wesleyan in their quarterfinal NESCAC game.

On Wednesday, Amherst secured the No. 2 spot in the NESCAC by beating Conn. 3-0. The Jeffs kicked it off at the 27:16 mark on a penalty corner when Katie McMahon ’13 sent the ball to Carly Dudzik ’12, who fed it to Sarah McCarrick ’12 for the team’s first goal.

The Jeffs defeated the Cardinals 2-0 in Saturday’s Homecoming NESCAC matchup.

Before the game, the team honored the six senior players who will graduate from the team at the end of this season: Chrissy Cantore, Stephanie Clegg, Carly Dudzik, Rachel Lupien, Sarah McCarrick and Casey Silver.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Jeffs went to work on their 10th win, which would secure hosting rights for their NESCAC quarterfinal game next weekend.

The Jeffs took four out of five games in a long stretch of away games over the past week and a half, defeating Williams, Babson, Colby and Smith and dropping one to Bowdoin.

“Playing on the road is definitely a different experience, but we took it one game at a time and didn’t think of it as a five-game stretch,” co-captain Stephanie Clegg ’12 noted.

In perhaps the most exciting week so far for the field hockey team, the Jeffs beat Mount Holyoke in overtime on Wednesday night and stole a win from Tufts on Saturday afternoon.

On Wednesday, the Jeffs traveled to South Hadley and returned with a 4-3 victory, following a suspenseful overtime period. After a scoreless first half, Alex Philie ’14 got things started by converting a penalty corner into the team’s first goal, fed by Katie McMahon ’13. Mt. Holyoke answered minutes later when Shara Robertson scored on another corner.