Jeffs and Ephs Set to Clash in Pivotal Rivalry Weekend

#1 Williams (1-0/0-0 NESCAC) at #3 Amherst (0-0/0-0 NESCAC)

Women's TennisSeries History: Amherst holds a 31-23 advantage over Williams in what has become one of the schools’ most competitive rivalries. The Lord Jeffs have won 15 of the past 20 meetings, with five of those victories resulting in a NESCAC title. Amherst has come out on top in each of the past eight matches in Williamstown but is only 4-4 against the Ephs at home in the past six years. Amherst defeated Williams to win the 1999 NCAA title, with the Ephs returning the favor in 2009.  

Last Meeting: These teams last met in the 2010 NESCAC Championship finals, when Amherst defended its home court with a 5-0 win for a sixth consecutive outright conference title. The Lord Jeffs swept the doubles matches by scores of 8-3, 8-5 and 8-5, before Laura Danzig ’12 and Carlissa King ’11 won in straight sets in the No. 2 and No. 3 singles bouts, respectively. Amherst improved to 17-2 and avenged a 6-3 loss from three weeks prior, while Williams dropped to 18-3. The teams were on track to face each other in the national title match, but the top-ranked Jeffs were upset by fourth-ranked Emory in the semifinals, 5-4.

Match Preview: The past four Amherst-Williams matches featured the ITA’s No. 1 and No. 2 teams in Division III, with the lower-ranked school pulling off the upset each time. While the three-time defending national champions are still holding on to the top spot in the rankings, the Jeffs begin the season at No. 3 after winning last year’s consolation match in the NCAA Tournament.

Amherst has yet to play a dual match this fall and Williams has played only one (a 9-0 win at Wellesley), but fans were treated to a preview at the ITA Regional Championships. The Ephs and Jeffs went 3-3 against each other in the singles tournament, which featured New England’s top players, but Amherst got the last laugh when Jordan Brewer ’14 defeated Williams’ Kristin Alotta ’12 in the finals, 6-2, 6-0. The doubles tournament brought similar results, as Natasha Brown ’11 and Danzig knocked off Alotta and Nicole Reich ’11 in the semifinals to set up an All-Amherst showdown in the title match.

Each team lost its No. 1 player from a year ago but brought in an exceptional group of first-years, which means this year’s battle for the NESCAC crown should once again be up in the air. The ITA’s preseason rankings will not be released until Nov. 5, but the winner of this weekend’s match will likely claim the No. 1 spot.

#18 Amherst (4-2/2-2 NESCAC) at Williams (2-3/1-2 NESCAC)

Field HockeyLive Coverage: Williams College will be providing live audio and video webcasts on a pay-per-view basis.

Series History: Williams holds a commanding 29-9-1 advantage in the all-time series thanks to three winning streaks of at least five games. The Lord Jeffs’ recent surge in the NESCAC began in 2006 when they won six of the season’s final eight games, including a 1-0 upset over the Ephs in the NESCAC Championship opening round. Amherst last defeated Williams in 2008, a 2-1 overtime thriller that marked the fifth time since 2000 these teams have required extra time to determine a winner.

Last Meeting: Amherst entered last year’s showdown with Williams ranked 17th in Division III, but the unranked Ephs left Gooding Field on the winning end of a 2-0 shutout. Lucy Rollins ’12 opened the scoring in the 11th minute and Margie Fulton ’12 added an insurance goal in the 57th, as the visitors held a 12-9 edge in shots on the rainy afternoon. The Jeffs earned 10 penalty corners in the game and nearly scored when Carly Dudzik ’12 hit the post with 4:44 remaining in regulation, but Williams pulled off the upset to improve to 4-0 in the NESCAC.

Game Preview: The Ephs’ last two losses have come at the hands of Connecticut and Springfield colleges, teams that Amherst defeated by a combined score of 10-3. Williams has alternated wins and losses thus far, opening the season with a 1-0 setback to Wesleyan and coming off a 2-1 result against the Pride. Amherst, meanwhile, is riding a three-game winning streak after Wednesday night’s 1-0 victory over Mount Holyoke College. The Ephs will have little time to regroup before starting a three-game road trip with an 11 a.m. meeting at 17th-ranked Trinity on Sunday.

The Lord Jeffs began the week ranked third in the NESCAC in scoring offense, with their 3.2-goals-per-game average doubling the Ephs’ pace of 1.6 goals per contest. While Amherst features four players with at least seven points on the year, Williams has only one with at least five points. Each team has surrendered an average of 1.8 goals per game in 2010.

Currently sixth in the NESCAC standings, Amherst could climb as high as fourth with a win over Williams. The Ephs have their work cut out for them if they want to avoid falling farther behind the pack, facing a pair of nationally-ranked teams in two days this weekend. Williams will look to defender Meera Sivalingam ’12, the team’s leader in defensive saves (3) and points (6). Amherst’s balanced attack has been led by Katie McMahon ’13, whose four goals and five assists are both team highs.

#15 Amherst (4-0-2/1-0-2 NESCAC) at #4 Williams (5-0-1/2-0-1 NESCAC)

Men's SoccerLive Coverage: Williams College will be providing live audio and video webcasts on a pay-per-view basis.

Series History: Amherst and Williams have met 91 times since 1922, with the Lord Jeffs holding a narrow 42-39-10 advantage in the all-time series. Since the 2006 meeting was rained out, Amherst has won two of the past three games against its archrival. The Ephs picked up a 2-1 win over the Jeffs last fall, bringing Williams’ record against Amherst to 7-3-0 in the last decade. Amherst and Williams have not settled to a tie since 1995, when the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

Last Meeting: Williams came to Amherst last year with a 5-0-1 record as the seventh-ranked team in Division III, while the Jeffs took the pitch with just one blemish at 4-1-0. The Ephs went up 1-0 in the 34th minute on an unassisted tally by Gaston Kelly ’11, stretching their lead to 2-0 in the middle of the second stanza when Charles Romero ’11 calmly finished off a feed from Pierre Maloty-Kapella ’10. Lord Jeff forward Chris Linsmayer ’11 drew a foul in the Williams penalty box with just under 12 minutes remaining, setting up Matt Lewis ’10 for a penalty kick. The Amherst co-captain finished easily to chop his team’s deficit in half, but Amherst could not find an equalizer.

Game Preview: Saturday’s matchup once again pits the region’s top two teams against one another, with both sides bringing unbeaten records to the table. After settling for a draw in two of its first three conference games, the Amherst offense has come alive to combine for 14 goals in shutout wins over St. Joseph’s, Connecticut College and Bridgewater State. The Ephs have needed overtime in three of their five wins this season and have managed to keep a clean sheet just once, a scoreless double-overtime draw against Connecticut College.

Saturday’s game will feature two of the top scoring threats in the NESCAC. Amherst sophomore Spencer Noon, the conference’s reigning Co-Player of the Week, is tied with Romero atop the leader board at 11 points in six games. Providing support to Noon up front is senior forward Ian Rothkopf, who leads the NESCAC in game-winning tallies this year with three. The Lord Jeffs rank second in the conference in goals per game (2.8) and goals-against average (0.31), while the Ephs rank third (2.3) and fifth (0.9) in the categories, respectively.

As two of only three unbeaten teams in the NESCAC, Amherst and Williams are trying to keep pace with 19th-ranked Middlebury. The Panthers sit alone atop the conference standings at 3-0-0 (7-0-0 overall), out-scoring opponents by a 25-0 margin for the league’s top-ranked offense and defense. The Lord Jeffs join six teams with only one win in the neck-and-neck standings, while Williams enters the weekend in sole possession of second place.

#25 Amherst (3-2-2/2-0-2 NESCAC) at #8 Williams (5-1-1/2-0-1 NESCAC)

Women's SoccerLive Coverage: Williams College will be providing live audio and video webcasts on a pay-per-view basis.

Series History: Amherst and Williams are an even 14-14-7 against one another in a series that dates back to 1978. The Lord Jeffs posted a 4-0-2 record against their archrivals during a dominant stretch from 2001-05, but the Ephs are 3-0-1 in the past four meetings. Williams is currently tied for the longest unbeaten streak it has ever ridden against Amherst, having won all four games from 1990-93.

Last Meeting: Allie Horwitz ’12 made 19 saves for Amherst, but third-ranked Williams improved to 8-0 with a convincing 3-0 win on the road. The Ephs held a 1-0 lead at halftime with a 10-6 advantage in shots, but they dominated the second frame by taking 17 shots and allowing only five. Annelise Snyder ’11 scored in the 31st and 87th minutes for Williams, with Tyler Rainer ’11 opening the second-half scoring in the 51st minute. Lauren Sinnenberg ’10 and Julia Schreiber ’11 each made three saves in 45 minutes to share the shutout. The 14th-ranked Lord Jeffs dropped to 5-2 but would go 7-0-1 in their next eight games.

Game Preview: Amherst enters the weekend in sole possession of first place in the NESCAC (2-0-2), but they have Williams (2-0-1) and Trinity (2-0-1) only one point behind in the standings. Williams has the edge on the statistical leader boards, scoring 2.0 goals and allowing only 0.8 per game while the Jeffs are scoring 1.2 and surrendering 0.9. Williams is 1-0 at home this season, having opened with six consecutive road games before cruising past Colby in Williamstown, 4-0. The Jeffs are 1-1-1 away from their home field, defeating Bowdoin, tying Bates and losing to Springfield.

Winning the NESCAC title and advancing to at least the third round of the NCAA Tournament in 2007 (17-1, 9-0 NESCAC), 2008 (19-1-1, 8-0-1) and 2009 (19-1, 9-0), the Ephs recently had a dominant 45-game unbeaten streak (43-0-2) in regular season play come to an end. A 3-1 setback to seventh-ranked William Smith earlier this season marked the Ephs’ first regular-season loss since Oct. 21, 2006. Williams has won its past three games in shutout fashion, while Amherst is hoping to snap out of its current three-game winless streak.

The Lord Jeffs have thus far been unable to find a rhythm on offense, but several players have shown the potential to become the team’s main scoring threat. Seven players have at least one goal on the year, with Hannah Cooper ’13 and Jackie Hirsch ’11 leading the way at two tallies apiece. The Ephs are paced offensively by Brett Eisenhart ’12 and her five goals, while reigning NESCAC Player of the Week Sara Wild ’11 has scored twice and dished out four assists.