Amherst Ends Season with 4-3 Loss to Skidmore

Game details provided by Tufts University sports information

2009 Team
With a 12-5 record, the 2009 Amherst squad is one of only five in the program's history to win at least 12 games.

MEDFORD, MA – In an exciting, back-and-forth NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championship second-round game, Skidmore College's Brittany O'Brien scored with 3:18 remaining in the second half to lift the Thoroughbreds to a 4-3 victory against Amherst College in the rain at Tufts University's Bello Field Saturday afternoon.

Skidmore (17-3), the ninth-ranked team in the nation, advances to play in the NCAA quarterfinals against host Tufts on Sunday at 1 pm. Tufts was a 5-1 winner over MIT in Saturday's other NCAA second-round game. Amherst, which had scored with 7:53 remaining to tie the game, finished its season with a 12-5 record.

Fresh off its first NCAA Championship victory since 1999, Amherst entered Saturday’s game in the midst of one of the most successful seasons in the program’s 34-year history. Prior to 2009, only four Amherst teams had won at least 12 games, and only three had qualified for an NCAA Championship. Another victory for the Lord Jeffs would have matched the 13 wins from the 2001 season, leaving only the 1999 (15-3) and 2000 (14-3) teams ahead of this year’s squad in the win column.

In the only other meeting between the Jeffs and Thoroughbreds, Amherst earned a 4-3 victory in penalty strokes at Skidmore in the 1999 NCAA Championship quarterfinal round. With the win Saturday, Skidmore bumped its impressive winning streak to 10 games, scoring at least four goals in seven of those contests.

First-year Katie McMahon wrapped up an impressive season with two goals against Skidmore.

The Thoroughbreds and Lord Jeffs were scoreless for the first 20 minutes of the game, but then tallied four total goals in the final 13:10 of the first half. Skidmore, which had a goal disallowed earlier, got on the scoreboard first when O'Brien fed a sweet cross to senior Elise Britt. She knocked it in and her 22nd goal of the year put the Thoroughbreds up 1-0 in the 22nd minute.

Amherst answered soon. First-year Katie McMahon (Denville, NJ) scored the first of her two goals on the afternoon less than five minutes later at 26:15 and the game was tied 1-1. Five minutes after that, the Lord Jeffs seized momentum with a go-ahead goal by senior Molly Molloy (Stamford, CT) from sophomore Chrissy Cantore (Hershey, PA) that came with 3:49 to go until halftime.

However, the Thoroughbreds had an answer less than three minutes later, making it 2-2 with 1:09 on the clock when junior Lauren McCarthy scored during a penalty corner opportunity. Junior Katie Potter recorded the assist.

The fast-paced action of the first half did not let up in the second, despite miserable weather. Ten minutes into the second half, Skidmore took a 3-2 advantage with a goal by junior Christine Kemp from sophomore Annie Rosencrans. The lead stood up as the game clock wound down under 10 minutes, but Amherst would respond to the sense of urgency. McMahon scored her second of the game and 10th of the year from Molloy to tie it at 3-3. The Lord Jeffs would finish the game with a 19-15 lead in the shots column.

With overtime looming, Skidmore controlled possession late in the second half. They had three penalty corners, and on the third Kemp took a shot that was blocked. O'Brien was there to collect the ball and score her 14th of the season for a 4-3 Thoroughbred lead. Amherst made one last rush, with a shot by Molloy saved by Skidmore sophomore keeper Liz Catinella, and Molloy's shot after the rebound rolled wide.

Catinella had eight saves in the victory, including six in the second half. Sophomore Emily Vitale (Cheshire, CT) made three saves in the Amherst cage. Despite Amherst's advantage in shots, the Thoroughbreds posted a wide 17-7 margin in penalty corner opportunities.