Athletics

A Look Back at What Made 2010-11 a Memorable Year

Contact: Justin Long

AMHERST, MA – Whether it was an overtime thriller, a dominant individual performance or a national championship, the 2010-11 academic year provided Amherst fans with memorable moments from start to finish. There are too many to count, but here are 12 of the best (in chronological order) to give you an idea of how things went for the Lord Jeffs.

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Women’s Tennis First-Years Burst Onto the Scene
Sept. 19, 2010 – At this year’s ITA Regional Championships, Jordan Brewer ’14 and Gabby Devlin ’14 looked like kids who showed up to the first day of class and had already done the first three homework assignments. The year’s first event saw Brewer win the singles tournament (notably defeating the reigning NCAA singles champion in the semifinals and the reigning ITA champion in the finals) before teaming up with Devlin for the doubles crown, setting the tone for what would be a phenomenal season for the Lord Jeffs. It should have come as no surprise when Brewer and Devlin won the 2011 NCAA doubles title without dropping a set, improving them to 19-0 in tournament matches on the year.
Football
Football Wins Shootout with Tufts, 70-49
Oct. 30, 2010 – Amherst and Tufts combined for 16 points when they met in 2009, but it took them about three and a half seconds to reach that total in 2010. Throughout the season Amherst had been using its “blur” offense to steamroll teams, but for a while it seemed like the Jumbos were going to beat the Jeffs at their own game. Holding a seemingly comfortable 35-21 lead in the second quarter, Tufts had no idea head coach E.J. Mills was simply waiting for the right time to use his classic “Let’s Go on a Ridiculous 35-0 Run” speech to get his guys fired up. It worked like a charm, and before the Jumbos knew what happened, Amherst went into video game mode and pulled away for a wild 70-49 win.
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Mooney’s Hat Trick Leads Men’s Soccer at Saint Lawrence
Nov. 14, 2010 – Fans of Saint Lawrence men’s soccer probably aren’t fans of James Mooney ’12. The 2010 season seemed to be winding down for the Lord Jeffs, who trailed the host Saints by a score of 1-0 with only 30 minutes remaining in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Four goals and six cards (five yellow, one red) later, Amherst was heading home with a 3-2 victory as fans tried to grasp what the heck had just happened. The Saints held a significant edge in shots and corner kicks, but their lack of a Mooney proved to be the difference maker as the Amherst forward recorded goals in the 62nd, 63rd and 83rd minutes for an impressive hat trick (as opposed to an unimpressive hat trick).
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Toomey Carries Men’s Basketball Past Williams in Overtime
Jan. 8, 2011 – Ho hum, another Amherst-Williams overtime thriller. If you think this storyline is getting old, tell that to renowned Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan, who sat in LeFrak’s student section to watch the 17th-ranked Jeffs hand the 2nd-ranked Ephs their first loss. (Ryan would later rave about the game on ESPN’s Around the Horn.) Aaron Toomey ’14 finished with 21 points after scoring seven in overtime, also grabbing eight boards, dishing out five assists and receiving countless “HE’S - A - FRESH - MAN!” chants on the day. He accounted for the final points of regulation and nearly bumped himself into legendary status with a buzzer-beating three-point heave that just missed. (Speaking of buzzer-beating three-point heaves…)
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Men’s Hockey Scores Three Unanswered Goals to Upset Bowdoin
Feb. 4, 2011 – In the most exciting game played at Orr Rink this year, fifth-ranked Bowdoin took a 2-0 lead over Amherst only to have the Lord Jeffs respond with three unanswered goals. The turning point came when the Jeffs scored twice in a span of 24 seconds midway through the third, taking a 3-2 lead they would not relinquish. An Amherst penalty created a 6-on-4 situation in the final minute, but goaltender Cole Anderson ’11 came up big to preserve the upset as the Lord Jeff bench stormed the ice in front of a packed house. (Also, anytime Bowdoin comes to town wearing all black, you can’t help but think of the Iceland squad that Team USA played against in D2: The Mighty Ducks. And that’s a classic movie.)
Track
Scheetz Named Top Performer After Winning National Title
Mar. 12, 2011 – Ben Scheetz ’12 ran like Forrest Gump for much of the 2010-11 track & field seasons, but it was his performance in the 800-meter run at the NCAA Indoor Championships that added another national title to Amherst’s trophy case. Currently the team’s record holder in several indoor and outdoor events, Scheetz was named Most Outstanding Performer at the indoor championships for leading the Lord Jeffs to the best finish in program history. The following week he would earn USTFCCCA National Men’s Athlete of the Year honors, and, despite what his post-meet interviewer had to say, Scheetz was in fact only a junior at the time and will be back to defend his title in 2012.
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Women’s Basketball Celebrates Title with Rendition of “Sweet Caroline”
Mar. 19, 2011 – Every year, it’s a given that somebody is going to win the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. But to have the winning team belt out an original rendition of “Sweet Caroline” while the tournament’s MVP—whose name happens to be Caroline—is cutting down a piece of the net? If that happened in a movie, we’d call it cheesy. Since it happened in real life, it has to go down as one of the coolest moments of the year. Oh, and the team storming the court after beating Wash-U was pretty cool, too. That sort of pure, genuine happiness was the result of Amherst avenging its previous losses to Wash-U by winning the program’s first national title.
Swimming
Swim Teams Kick Off NCAA Week with Two National Titles
Mar. 23, 2011 – Amherst was on track to win every event at the 2011 NCAA Championships when Kendra Stern ’11 and Ryan Lichtenfels ’12 kicked off the four-day meet by capturing national titles in the 500-yard freestyles. Sadly, the Lord Jeffs could not maintain that superhuman pace and would have to settle for a pair of impressive top-10 team finishes. Stern’s time of 4:43.37 in the 500 was more than 4.5 seconds ahead of the defending champion, as she would go on to win three titles en route to National Swimmer of the Year honors (and a billion other awards). Lichtenfels, meanwhile, won the men’s 500 in 4:23.91 to help the Lord Jeff men take an early lead in the team standings.
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Men’s Lacrosse Upsets Middlebury for First Time Since 1989
Apr. 6, 2011 – Can you imagine losing to a team 26 times in a row? Neither could members of the 2011 Amherst men’s lacrosse team, which is why they put a stop to Middlebury’s streak at a reasonable 25. Since Amherst’s 8-6 win in 1989, 18 groups of seniors had graduated without ever having defeated Middlebury, with the Panthers nearly doubling the Jeffs' goal output (344-175) along the way. It seemed like number 26 might be coming when Middlebury held a 7-6 lead with five minutes remaining in regulation, but the Jeffs scored three goals in 1:07 to pull away for a 9-7 win. The teams would meet again in the NCAA Tournament, where Amherst increased its win streak over the Panthers to two.
Baseball
Baseball Opens Series with 14-2 Win Over Williams
Apr. 22, 2011 – Beating your archrival is always fun. Beating your archrival by a score of 14-2 en route to a three-game sweep that eliminates them from the postseason is really fun. Just ask the Lord Jeffs, who did everything right during their series-opening win over the Ephs. The Jeffs scored five runs in the second inning and added nine in the fifth, batting around the lineup each time en route to 19 hits in front of their home crowd. Williams was held to four hits (thanks to RHP Max McKenna ’11) and committed five errors in the field, while the Jeffs showed off by turning three double plays without recording an error. Amherst would go on to win a pair of three-run games the next day to clinch a playoff berth.
Softball
Kervick’s Homer Lifts Softball Past Williams on Senior Day
Apr. 29, 2011 – The script couldn’t have been written much better for Katie Kervick ’11, whose three-run homer on Senior Day broke a 3-3 tie against Williams and gave the Lord Jeffs a lead they would not relinquish. Entering the final stretch of her collegiate career without a home run, Kervick went on a tear by going yard four times in her final nine games, including once against Hamilton, once at Middlebury and twice against the Ephs. Her Senior Day homer was a no-doubt-about-it bomb that rocketed off the scoreboard in left field and lit a fire under the Amherst bench. She would go on to bat .429 with a 1.286 slugging percentage against Williams in what was the final series of her career.  
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Men’s Tennis Completes Dominant Season with NCAA Title
May 26, 2011 – Prior to head coach Chris Garner’s arrival, the Amherst men’s tennis team had never won 20 matches in a season. This year’s team went 36-1. Enough said. The Lord Jeffs got off to a 17-0 start, lost to Claremont in March, then decided they didn’t want to lose again, winning the program’s first NESCAC title since 1992 along the way. After a 5-0 win over Trinity University in the national quarterfinals and a 5-1 win over Williams in the semifinals (the Jeffs were 3-0 against the Ephs this year), Amherst capped off its dominance with a 5-2 victory over top-ranked Emory in the title match. The Jeffs don’t have a lot of room for improvement, but they lose only one player from their starting lineup and could be dangerous for a long time.