2007 Season Preview
The Amherst College women’s soccer program posted another successful campaign in 2006, notching a 15-2-2 (7-0-1 NESCAC) record and advancing to the NCAA national quarterfinal round, where they fell to The College of New Jersey in penalty kicks. The Jeffs went undefeated in regular season NESCAC play, which earned them the No. 1 seed in the NESCAC Championship Tournament. They advanced to the NESCAC championship game, where they fell to Middlebury College, 1-0, in overtime. The Jeffs managed to put together a pair of significant unbeaten streaks during the season, going 5-0-1 in their first six contests and 7-0 in the seven games leading up to the NESCAC finals. The Jeffs posted a total of 11 shutouts, four of which came in NCAA tournament play. Season highlights included an exciting 3-2 regular season double-overtime victory over Middlebury.
Amherst loses five seniors to graduation, all of whom were key players during their careers. The backbone of the defense will suffer most with the loss of All-America goalkeeper Piper Crowell, whose post-season honors include being named to the adidas/NSCAA All-America Second Team and All-NESCAC First Team. She also led the NESCAC in goals-against average and save percentage. Another key loss is last year’s leading scorer, forward Amy Armstrong, who was named to the adidas/NSCAA All-America and All-NESCAC First Teams, and earned NESCAC Player of the Year honors.
The midfield and defense will also take a hit with the loss of outside midfielder Lesley Pruzansky, who was named to the adidas/NSCAA All-New England Second Team; defensive central midfielder Jenny Muller, who was dominant in the air and chipped in with three goals and a pair of assists last season; and defender Liz Foley, who brought experience and leadership to the back. Crowell, Armstrong, Pruzansky, and Foley were each named to the NESCAC Fall All-Academic Team in 2006, while Crowell, Armstrong, and Foley were each elected to play in the NEWISA Soccer Bowl game.Returning Players
The Jeffs return a wealth of playing experience in 2007, led by senior tri-captains Heather Nowak, Katie Coffey, and Simone Burke. Nowak, who had three goals and five assists in 2006, has been a key contributor to the team since her first year and will look to be a presence in the midfield. Coffey had a successful junior season at the striker position, despite battling multiple injuries, totaling six goals and four assists in 2006.
The Jeffs will look to juniors Stephanie Yesnik and Julia Cummings and sophomore Cami Farkas to jumpstart the attack. Joining Nowak in the midfield will be 2006 NESCAC Rookie of the Year Meg Murphy, who was also named to the All-NESCAC First Team. Murphy established herself as a force to be reckoned with on the offensive end, notching 15 points on six goals and three assists in her rookie season. Juniors Natalie Ferraiolo and Mary Marvel will bolster the midfield along with sophomore Jill Whiting, who is looking to have a breakout season after coming off of an injury-ridden rookie year.
Junior Alanna Darling, also named to the All-NESCAC First Team, will anchor the defense along with juniors Kate Moriarty and Kate Bentley and sophomore Kathy Nolan. The Jeffs’ defense looks to continue its success from last season, where they allowed only eight goals to be scored, giving Amherst the conference’s best goals-against average. Sophomores Lili Ferguson and Jenny Greig will take Crowell’s place between the pipes.
The Lord Jeffs welcome a talented and deep group of first-years to the Amherst campus for preseason this year, all of whom will be vying for a spot on an already loaded roster. Jackie Hirsch and Kyla Woodhouse are looking to make the squad at striker, while the quartet of Claire Galiette, Caitlin Greskovich, Amanda Barrow, and Gigi Maturo will look to bolster Amherst’s midfield. First-years Hanna St. Marie, Caitlin O’Malley, Molly Jessup, Caity Saggese, and Clara Rowe hope to join the already suffocating Amherst defense
Amherst opens its season next weekend with a pair of very difficult non-conference matches. The Jeffs will certainly be tested when they face Johns Hopkins and The College of New Jersey, two nationally ranked opponents, in the first weekend. Amherst hopes to build on the success of last season and advance deep into the NCAA Tournament for another title run in 2007.