Lord Jeffs Look to Carry Momentum Into 2009
Senior Molly Malloy returns as Amherst's
leading scorer, this time as a tri-captain.
The Amherst College field hockey team closed out the 2008 regular season in style, winning six straight contests to clinch a home game in the NESCAC Championship opening round. The six-pack of victories included back-to-back wins over Little Three archrivals Wesleyan and Williams, and a 1-0 double-overtime victory over then-8th-ranked Trinity College. Just two days later, Amherst suffered a 1-0 home defeat to the Bantams in the NESCAC Quarterfinals, ending its season with an impressive 10-5 mark.
The Lord Jeffs started last year out on a rollercoaster ride, failing to put more than two consecutive wins together, before a 4-0 loss to Tufts dropped the team to 4-4 at the midpoint. Shortly after the loss to Tufts, Amherst was able to gel both offensively and defensively. With a favorable schedule down the stretch, Amherst turned up its intensity as young players earned more responsibility on the field, and veterans led the team to a dominant second half. During the six-game win streak, Amherst out-scored its opposition 20-4, and never surrendered more than a single goal in any contest.
In the regular season finale, Amherst upset the Bantams on the road on a double-overtime goal from Molly Malloy '10. The win earned the No. 4 seed in the conference tournament and stole a home game away from Trinity. Just two days later, the Bantams exacted their revenge with a 1-0 season-ending result at Amherst. The Lord Jeffs have carried momentum from their strong finish last year, and have had a positive team dynamic throughout the off-season. This summer, the players met in Amherst for a retreat that welcomed the incoming first-years to the fold, and helped make sure the Jeffs could hit the ground running this fall.
Amherst watched a class of five seniors leave the program by way of graduation last spring, including a core of players that have formed the foundation for the team the past few years. Headlining the Class of 2009 was three-time All-American midfielder Alyssa Dudzik, who leaves Amherst as one of the most decorated players in program history. Dudzik capped a stellar career with a final campaign that earned her both NESCAC First Team and NFHCA All-America Second Team honors for the third straight season. Classmates Louise Stevenson and Catherine Calvert each earned conference honors last year as they landed on the NESCAC’s All-Sportsmanship and All-Academic teams, respectively.
The Lord Jeffs also must say good-bye to forward Caki Guinee and goalie Jane Mostue, who round out the Class of 2009. Guinee recorded career numbers as a senior, breaking into double-digits in scoring for the first time, while proving to be a steady force on the Amherst attack. Mostue gave way to NESCAC Rookie of the Year Emily Vitale in net last season, but was a solid leader for Amherst, and graduated with a 6-2 overall record in goal.
Senior tri-captain Tierney Healey will anchor the
Amherst returns to the turf of Gooding Field this fall with a trio of senior leaders who will serve as tri-captains this season. Seniors Malloy, Haley Douds and Tierney Healey have played a prominent role in the Lord Jeffs' recent resurgence as a NESCAC leader, and will be called upon once again this season to lead both on and off the field. Douds and Malloy combine to lead the Amherst attack as two of the top four point scorers from last season. Malloy finished the year with 18 points to lead the Jeffs, despite missing the first half of the season with an injury. Douds has been a workhorse on offense and will be looked to once again this season as a leader. Healey spearheads the defensive unit as the sweeper once again this fall, after leading the NESCAC in defensive saves last year. Both Douds and Healey were All-NESCAC Second Team in 2008, while Healey was also an NFHCA All-Region selection.
Amherst’s junior class includes a quartet of talented players who will look to grab increasingly crucial roles on the team this season. Liz Schink returns as a speedy forward who scraps for every point she earns with hustle and determination, and was the team’s second leading scorer last year with 17 points. Classmate and fellow forward Julie Santosuosso will once again provide depth and contribute up front this season. Carly Leahy is the lone junior playing in the midfield, and will be expected to make a strong contribution on the left side. Rounding out the junior class is Rachel Egan, who gained valuable experience last season by starting all 15 games at right back.
The Lord Jeffs' sophomore class will be their largest this season with seven players returning to the pitch. Vitale will look to carry momentum in net from her superb rookie campaign that earned All-NESCAC Second Team honors. Playing in front of her on defense are classmates Stephanie Clegg and Sarah McCarrick once again this season. Clegg played her way into a more prominent role last season, and started down the stretch. McCarrick came on strong as the season went on as well, and as a center back will be a key to Amherst’s transition game, while using her powerful driving ability on restarts and corners.
While no one can be expected to fill the large shoes of Alyssa Dudzik, younger sister and sophomore Carly Dudzik will assume the role of playmaker in the central midfield. Amherst will look for Dudzik to always be close to the ball, and spark the offense. Classmate Chrissy Cantore finished last season as the third leading scorer on the team with 12 points, and will look to build on her first-year experience on the right wing. Wrapping up the sophomore class are Casey Silver and Rachel Lupien at the midfield and attack, respectively, as each looks to break into the lineup for more playing time this season.
Carol Knerr welcomes a new face to the sideline, as two-time national champion and back-to-back NESCAC Player of the Year Lindsay McNamara graduated from Bowdoin College before being named Amherst’s assistant coach. The Lord Jeffs also welcome seven first-years this season. Rookies Nomi Conway, Hillary Densen, Mary Katherine McNeill, Katie McMahon, Kaitlyn McInnis, Sarah Wise and Lindsay Gruskay all arrive this fall for their first semester.
Amherst starts the 2009 season with a tough task, as top-ranked defending national champion Bowdoin comes to town on Sept. 12 for the opener. After a mid-week non-conference tilt against local rival Smith College at home, the Lord Jeffs will see no relief as they travel to face No. 2 Tufts University on Sept. 19. The Jeffs will take on Wesleyan during homecoming weekend Oct. 24 as well.