Athletics

A Look Back at Amherst's Winter

General
The men's hockey team began the year unranked but wouldn’t stay off the radar for long. After allowing seven goals in a loss to Bowdoin, the Jeffs defeated the Polar Bears by a score of 3-1 in a rematch and never slowed down. As the top seed in the NESCAC Championship, Amherst overcame a 2-0 deficit against Middlebury in the title game en route to its second championship in four years. Ranked No. 2 in Division III, the Jeffs earned the program’s first-ever trip to the Frozen Four and pushed their win streak to 12 by coming from behind for a 3-1 win over Plattsburgh in the quarterfinals. Amherst forced overtime against Oswego State in the semifinals by scoring with 22 seconds remaining in regulation, but its miraculous run ended 7:20 into the extra period. READ MORE
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Carrying a 19-game win streak into the season as the defending NCAA champion, the women's basketball team had a target on its back from day one. The Jeffs responded by winning each of their first 15 games by at least 20 points, including five by 50. After narrowly escaping Maine with thrilling wins over Bowdoin (63-59) and Colby (51-50), Amherst went back into cruise control and finished the regular season at 24-0. The Jeffs won their three NESCAC tournament games by an average of 25.0 points—marking their third title in four years—and their first four NCAA games by 28.5, moving their win streak to 50. Making a fourth consecutive appearance in the Final Four, Amherst suffered a 76-69 loss to George Fox in a battle of 31-0 juggernauts. READ MORE
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After getting off to a 13-2 start, the men's basketball team put together a 13-game winning streak as part of one of the most exciting winters LeFrak Gym has ever seen. Closing the regular season by defeating Williams and Middlebury in a pair of instant classics, the Jeffs then knocked off the Panthers in the NESCAC finals for their first conference title since 2006. Amherst’s 30th consecutive win in LeFrak came in the form of an 80-56 victory over NYU in the NCAA Tournament’s second round, but the Jeffs would close their season with an 80-71 loss at Franklin and Marshall in the Sectional semifinals. Finishing the year at 26-3, Amherst’s 10-0 conference record was particularly impressive considering the level of competition in the NESCAC this year.
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The women's hockey team knew it had the potential for another successful year when it earned a 3-2 win at Plattsburgh early in the season, but losses to powerhouses Elmira, RIT and Middlebury left Amherst at 10-3 heading into a tough seven-game road trip. They responded by winning all seven—even swinging through the Midwest for a pair of games—and followed with their biggest win of the season, a 2-0 shutout against top-ranked Norwich at home. Amherst grabbed the No. 2 seed in the NESCAC tournament and posted a pair of shutouts in the first two rounds, but Middlebury would take the conference title in overtime, 1-0. The Jeffs made a return to the NCAA tournament, only to have Norwich exact revenge with a 5-0 win that left Amherst with a 21-6-1 record.
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After winning its first four dual meets, the women's swimming & diving team put its depth on display by scoring 115 points during a setback to Williams, marking Amherst’s best showing in the rivalry in four years. The Jeffs concluded the regular season at 6-2 following a thrilling loss at MIT, as the teams were tied at 140 heading into the final event, which was decided by .04 seconds. The Jeffs showed they were still among the NESCAC’s elite by finishing as the conference’s runner-up for the seventh time in 11 years, earning nearly 200 points more than third-place Tufts. The last day of Nationals proved to be the most successful for Amherst, which got a pair of All-America performances from diver Lizzy Linsmayer ’14 and placed in the top-15 for the 16th consecutive year.
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Things couldn’t have started much better for the men's swimming & diving team, which didn’t lose a single event in its first three meets of the season (45-0). After closing out the calendar year by winning only 12 of 16 events against Union, Amherst kicked off 2012 with a dominant win over Williams (145-98) in front of an exuberant home crowd. A setback at MIT finally brought the team’s winning streak to a halt at 15, giving the Jeffs a 7-1 record for the year. They followed with an incredible second-place performance at the NESCAC Championships, as their 1,959 points shattered the previous program record by 344.5. Amherst then tied for sixth at Nationals with 206 points, marking the school’s fourth consecutive top-6 finish and closing the books on an exceptional Class of 2012.
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The women's squash team had to adjust its lineup after graduating an exceptional senior class, but the Jeffs began the season having improved their record in three consecutive years. A five-match win streak highlighted the regular season, but the Jeffs would post a 2-2 record in the conference tournament after being upset by Bowdoin. Amherst rebounded and went 4-1 down the stretch, notably beating No. 13 Mount Holyoke and avenging the loss to the Polar Bears by shutting them out in the CSA Championship. Winning 10 of their final 14 matches, the Jeffs finished at 13-10 as the 19th-ranked team in the nation. Three players competed in the CSA’s individual tournament, with Kate Savage ’12 posting a 3-2 record against some of the country’s best players.
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Coming off the program’s highest win total since 1997 (14), the men's squash team had some rebuilding to do after losing its top three players to graduation. Amherst got off to a 3-5 start, but a 4-0 showing at the Pioneer Valley Invitational and a win over Wesleyan suddenly had the Jeffs rolling at 8-5. A 3-1 record at the NESCAC tournament gave the Jeffs a fifth-place finish and earned them a spot in the Summers Cup (C Division) at the CSA Championships. Amherst opened the national tournament with a loss to Colby, but wins over Wesleyan and Connecticut College resulted in a final record of 13-8 and a national ranking of 21. Scott DeSantis ’15 highlighted a talented first-year class by earning an All-NESCAC selection and a spot in the CSA Individual Championships.
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The women's track & field team cracked the national rankings after winning six events at the Smith Invitational, as Naomi Bates ’14 led the charge with three victories. Bates then broke a 21-year-old school record in the 200-meter dash at the Terrier Invitational, as her time of 25.71 was more than a half second ahead of the 1991 mark. After winning Smith’s Tartan Invitational and setting 11 personal records at the Valentine Invite, the Jeffs broke a 15-year-old program record in the 4x200 at the DIII New England Championships. The DMR squad shined in the next two meets, notably posting the second fastest time in school history at ECACs (11:52.12) as the Jeffs placed 2nd of 57 teams. Amherst just missed out on scoring points at Nationals, with the DMR team placing ninth (11:59.44).
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Coming off the most successful year in program history, the men's track & field team put in one of its best performances of the past decade by finishing 1st of 10 at Springfield College, pulling out the dramatic win by posting the top time in the final two events of the day. After the Jeffs set 26 personal bests at the Valentine Invitational, Ben Scheetz ’12 set a new Division III record in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:47.43 at the Open New England Championships. Amherst then placed 3rd of 62 at the ECAC meet for the program’s highest-ever finish, with Scheetz breaking a 25-year-old school record in the 1,000. Injuries would play a major role down the stretch, as the Jeffs failed to score any points at Nationals despite being one of the highest-ranked teams in Division III.