A Look Back at Amherst's Spring

Entering the season with six new faces and a five-year playoff drought intact, the softball team wasn’t quite sure what to expect in 2012. Questions were quickly answered when the Jeffs went 12-0 during their trip to Florida, marking the best start in program history. After sweeping Williams for the first time since 1998, Amherst suddenly found itself at 22-0 as one of the hottest teams in Division III. Despite a loss to regional powerhouse Keene State and another to Middlebury, the Jeffs secured the NESCAC’s top seed and hosted the conference tournament for the first time ever. Amherst fell shy of a NESCAC title but would go on to post a 2-2 record in its first NCAA Tournament since 1999, finishing the year at 36-6 with a program-record four All-NESCAC selections. READ MORE
After Dan Duquette ’80 and Ben Cherington ’96 made headlines last fall as the new General Managers of the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox, respectively, the baseball team opened its 2012 season by posting a 7-3 record in Florida. Amherst immediately took control of the NESCAC West by sweeping Williams and Hamilton as part of a 16-3 tear, later sweeping Wesleyan to claim the top seed in the Division for a second consecutive year. Bids for a conference title and an NCAA Tournament berth were denied by losses to Bowdoin and Williams, but Amherst (23-10) had a lot to celebrate when Bob Cook ’13 was named NESCAC Player of the Year and Kevin Heller ’12 was selected by the Red Sox in the MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Beginning the spring season ranked No. 2 in Division III, the women’s tennis team got off to an 8-3 start and struggled to find its rhythm after battling through injuries. The Lord Jeffs regrouped and suddenly looked like the best team in the country after picking up wins against the NESCAC’s top teams, notably knocking off Middlebury twice and upsetting top-ranked Williams in the conference finals, 5-2. Amherst blanked its first two NCAA Tournament opponents and advanced to the national semifinals with a 5-4 win over Carnegie Mellon, but the Jeffs’ impressive 10-match win streak finally ended with losses to Chicago and Emory. Laura Danzig ’12 and Gabby Devlin ’14 rebounded and won the NCAA doubles tournament, marking Devlin’s second title in as many years.
The men’s tennis team bumped its win streak to 32 before finally losing two matches during split-squad action in California. Amherst got right back on track and won the final nine matches of the regular season, earning the NESCAC’s top seed with an 8-0 conference record. After defeating Middlebury and Bowdoin for the NESCAC title and shutting out Nichols and Vassar in the NCAA Tournament, the Jeffs once again found themselves in the NCAA quarterfinals. A fourth consecutive appearance in the title match was not in the cards, however, as Washington-St. Louis pulled off a 5-3 upset. The Jeffs finished at 31-3 and went on to win the NCAA doubles tournament, making Luis Rattenhuber ’13 and Austin Chafetz ’12 the first doubles champs in program history.
After upsetting No. 5 Bowdoin during a five-game win streak early in the season, the women's lacrosse team made another big push and won six consecutive games, notably shocking Williams in double overtime and knocking off eventual NCAA champion Trinity in the regular-season finale. The Jeffs were edged by Middlebury in the NESCAC semifinals but were an obvious selection for the NCAA Tournament, which they began with a 19-1 win over Keene State. Amherst then had No. 4 TCNJ against the ropes, but the Lions scored the final four goals and netted the winner with five seconds to go. The Jeffs (13-5) finished at No. 8 in the IWLCA Poll and ranked third in Division III in scoring defense (6.44), placing three players on the All-America Team.
Facing high expectations after a 15-3 season and the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament berth, the men’s lacrosse team quickly climbed to No. 3 in the national rankings with a 7-0 record. Amherst would go just 2-7 the rest of the way, though, notably using an 8-1 run and seven goals from Devin Acton ’14 to pick up a 15-11 win over Williams. The Jeffs gave national powerhouse Tufts a great game in the NESCAC quarterfinals, roaring back from a 5-0 deficit to take the Jumbos down to the wire, but Amherst came out on the losing end despite another seven goals from Acton. Evan Redwood ’12 earned a third consecutive All-America Honorable Mention selection, as he joined classmates Alex Fox ’12 and Cole Cherney ’12 in surpassing 100 career points.
Keri Lambert ’13 continued her outstanding junior year by leading the women’s track & field team during the spring, as she and Naomi Bates ’14 constantly posted some of the best times Amherst has ever seen. Bates set a school record in the 100-meter dash at the DIII New England Championships and followed with a new Amherst standard in the 200 at ECACs, while Lambert posted the fastest DIII time of the year in the steeplechase at the NEICAAA meet. Both runners qualified for Nationals, but it was Lambert who stood out by winning an NCAA title in the steeplechase with a new facility record (10:27.32). Lambert also placed seventh in the 5k despite being seeded 15th, as she singlehandedly led Amherst to a 17th-place showing after running 8,000 meters in one day.
Coming off another successful indoor season, the men’s track & field team kicked off its championship schedule by placing seventh at NESCACs. Ben Scheetz ’12 was crowned a conference champion in the 800-meter run for the second time in as many years and four others earned All-NESCAC honors, with Josiah Terrell-Perica ’15 becoming the first Amherst male to earn All-Conference recognition in a throwing event (javelin). After Andrew Erskine ’13 won the 10k at the NEICAAA meet, he and Scheetz led the charge to help the Jeffs place fifth at the ECAC Championships. Amherst’s lone points at Nationals would come from Scheetz’s seventh-place showing in the 800, as he graduated with an incredible 10 school records spanning the indoor and outdoor seasons.
The women’s golf team finished in the top-3 in all four events during the fall despite two of its best players studying abroad, and their return to the lineup made a significant impact in the spring. The Lord Jeffs kicked things off by besting a field of 11 at the Vassar Invitational, with Liz Monty ’13 placing second overall to help Amherst edge nationally-ranked Williams and Middlebury. Amherst again finished ahead of the Panthers and Ephs the following weekend, as Laura Monty ’12 won the Jack Leaman Championship individual title to help the Jeffs finish first among 12 schools. Attempting to make it a perfect 3-for-3 the next weekend at the Williams Spring Invitational, Amherst finished third behind their NESCAC rivals to close the year as one of the top teams in the region.
Nicholas Koh ’14 stood out for the men’s golf team during the fall slate by placing second in a field of 118 players at Middlebury, later earning a spot on the All-Conference First Team by finishing third at the NESCAC Championship Qualifier. The spring season featured only three events, but the highlight was clearly Amherst’s performance at the Little Three Championships. Williams had won the previous 14 Little Three crowns, but the Lord Jeffs posted wins against both the Cardinals (10-2) and the Ephs (7-5) en route to one of the program’s biggest victories of the past 15 years. Amherst closed the year with another strong showing at the Williams Spring Invitational, as Koh led the way by tying for third place in a field of more than 40.