Soccer, Field Hockey Teams Looking to Crash Wesleyan's Homecoming

Amherst (5-5-2 /4-1-2 NESCAC) @ Wesleyan (3-3-4/2-1-4 NESCAC)

Women's SoccerLive Coverage: Fans can follow along with live statistics courtesy of the Wesleyan sports information department.

Series History: Amherst holds a commanding 27-6-1 advantage over Wesleyan in the all-time series and a 25-2-1 edge since 1984. The Jeffs are unbeaten in their past 18 games against the Cardinals (17-0-1), with Wesleyan’s last win coming in 1993. Amherst has won each of the past 10 games at Wesleyan, as the Cardinals have not successfully defended their home field against their Little Three rivals since 1988. These teams last met in the quarterfinals of the 2009 NESCAC Championship, when Amherst advanced with a 2-1 result in overtime.

Game Preview: Wesleyan got off to a 1-3-3 start but is in the midst of its best stretch of the season (2-0-1), coming off road wins against Bowdoin and Bates and a scoreless tie against Middlebury. The Jeffs, on the other hand, got off to a strong 3-0-1 start and reached as high as No. 15 in the national rankings, but they have since posted a 2-5-1 record to fall out of the top 25. Despite its recent struggles, Amherst has fared well against the NESCAC (4-1-2), losing only to Middlebury in overtime.

The Jeffs and Cardinals feature nearly identical statistics, with Amherst allowing 1.26 goals per game and Wesleyan surrendering an average of 1.27. The Cardinals hold a slim advantage on offense thanks in large part to Laura Kurash ’13, who began the week leading the NESCAC in points per game (2.11) with eight goals and three assists. Five other Cardinals have scored on the year, but no player other than Kurash has totaled more than seven points. Eight Lord Jeffs have scored a goal and 11 have recorded at least one point for the balanced Amherst attack, with Jackie Hirsch ’11, Kathryn Nathan ’13 and Amanda Brisco ’14 leading the team at eight points apiece.

NESCAC Standings: Amherst is in sole possession of second place in the conference and trails Tufts (5-1-1 NESCAC) by only two points, as the Jeffs still have a legitimate chance to earn hosting rights for the conference tournament. After Saturday’s game Amherst could land as high as first place and as low as a tie for third, as Williams (4-2-1) is only one point behind in third place. Currently sixth in the standings and only one point behind Middlebury (3-2-2) and Trinity (3-2-2), Wesleyan is looking to host a quarterfinal game for the first time ever. The Jeffs have never finished lower than fourth in the standings but have not hosted the semifinal and final rounds since 2006.

#17 Amherst (9-3/4-3 NESCAC) @ Wesleyan (9-3/4-3 NESCAC)

Field HockeyLive Coverage: (None)

Series History: Wesleyan won four consecutive meetings from 2002-05 only to have Amherst come back and win the next four, as the Jeffs are 21-11-2 against the Cardinals in a series that dates back to 1976. These teams have required overtime on four occasions since 2000, with the Jeffs holding a 6-4 edge in the past 10 years after winning each of the past two by a score of 3-0.

Game Preview: This year’s meeting will be one of the most evenly matched in the rivalry’s recent history. Amherst and Wesleyan entered the week having scored 2.89 goals per game, averages that skyrocketed Tuesday night after the Jeffs earned a 9-0 win over Smith and the Cardinals rolled over Salve Regina, 12-0, to set a new school record for goals in a game. Katie McMahon ’13 had a hand in seven goals against Smith and has recorded 30 points in her past five outings, as she now leads the NESCAC in assists (11) and points (43) and ranks second in goals (16). Leading Wesleyan has been Morgan McCauley ’12, who began the week tied for eighth in the conference in points per game (1.91) with nine goals and five helpers.

The Jeffs are 8-1 in their past nine games, posting three consecutive shutouts for a total of six on the year. Amherst was dealt a tough 4-1 loss at Middlebury on Oct. 9, but no other team has managed to score more than one goal against the Jeffs since Sept. 26. Wesleyan, which is in the midst of its best season since 2005, has come up just shy of knocking off nationally-ranked teams this year, suffering 2-1 losses to Tufts (OT) and Bowdoin, with a 1-0 win over 20th-ranked Trinity coming in between. The Cardinals’ third loss came at the hands of Middlebury last weekend, a 3-0 result that knocked Wesleyan out of the national rankings.

NESCAC Standings: The winner of Saturday’s game can jump to as high as a tie for third place in the conference, but the loser will drop to sixth with only one NESCAC game remaining. Fifth-ranked Bowdoin (7-0 NESCAC) and fourth-ranked Tufts (6-1) have been dominant as usual and are on track to grab the top two seeds, but Amherst and Wesleyan are still trying to catch 13th-ranked Middlebury (5-2) and Trinity (5-2) for the final home games in the NESCAC Championship’s opening round.

Amherst (7-1-3/3-1-3 NESCAC) @ Wesleyan (6-6-0/2-5-0 NESCAC)

Men's SoccerLive Coverage: Fans can follow along with live statistics courtesy of the Wesleyan sports information department.  

Series History: Amherst and Wesleyan are an even 4-4-5 against one another since 2000 in what has been an extremely competitive rivalry. Seven of the past 13 games have required overtime, with three of the past seven resulting in a scoreless draw. The Lord Jeffs are 1-2-2 on the Cardinals’ home field in the past 10 years, with their last win in Middletown coming in 2002.

Game Preview: Wesleyan began last season with a 15-game unbeaten streak and emerged as one of the top teams in Division III, finishing with a 12-2-5 record (6-0-3 NESCAC) and advancing to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. This season has been a different story for the Cardinals, who have yet to post an unbeaten streak of more than two games. Each of Wesleyan’s losses has come by one goal, including three 1-0 results in NESCAC play. The Cardinals have scored two or more goals in only four games, while the Jeffs—ranked fourth in New England—have yet to allow more than one goal in any contest.

Amherst holds a significant edge on paper, beginning the week leading the conference in goals per game (2.82) and ranking second in goals-against average (0.34). Wesleyan, meanwhile, has hovered near the bottom of the statistical leader boards, scoring 1.15 goals per contest while allowing 0.98. Spencer Noon ’13 began the week tied for the NESCAC lead in goals (9) and Amherst featured four of the top eight points leaders, while the Cardinals did not feature a single player among the top 22 leaders in points. Lennard Kovacs ’12 ranks second in GAA (0.38) and fifth in save percentage (.840), with Wesleyan’s Adam Purdy ninth in both categories (0.91 GAA, .796 save %).

NESCAC Standings: Amherst is holding on to the fourth seed in the NESCAC, but with Tufts only one point behind the Jeffs cannot afford another tie if they want to host a quarterfinal game. Depending on Saturday’s other outcomes, Amherst could come out of this weekend as high as No. 2 and as low as a tie for fifth with only one conference game remaining. Wesleyan is currently eighth in the standings and has yet to clinch a postseason berth, with Bates and Connecticut College only two points behind. Middlebury (6-1 NESCAC) holds a commanding four-point lead over Bowdoin (4-1-2) and Williams (4-1-2) and is in the driver’s seat, as the Panthers have jumped to a No. 5 national ranking with an 11-1 overall record as the team to beat.