Lord Jeffs Face Ephs in Pivotal NESCAC Weekend
Contact: Ben Badua
FIELD HOCKEY – FRIDAY, OCT. 7 * 5 P.M.
#8 Amherst (6-1/4-1 NESCAC) at Williams (4-4/1-3 NESCAC)
Sarah McCarrick '12 has helped the Jeff defense post a pair of shutouts and the league's third-lowest goals-against average.
Live Coverage: Williams College will be providing live audio and video webcasts on a pay-per-view basis.
Series History: Williams enters Friday’s contest with a 29-10-1 edge in the all-time series, but since 2006 a resurgent Amherst squad has held a 3-2 advantage in the teams’ annual grudge match. Beginning with a 1-0 upset win over Williams in the opening round of the NESCAC Championship five years ago, the Jeffs again bested the Ephs in 2008’s 2-1 overtime thriller before securing a hard-fought 1-0 victory last season. Amherst has posted a 56-30 overall mark since 2006 with Williams going 41-45 during that span.
Last Meeting: Coming into the game sitting sixth in the NESCAC standings, Amherst scored a big 1-0 victory over Williams. After a near miss by Katie McMahon ’13 (Denville, N.J.) in the seventh minute, tri-captain Carly Leahy ’11 (Weston, Mass.) broke the scoreless deadlock by sneaking a shot past the Eph defense on a broken play at 23:42. With just over 13 minutes remaining before the half, Williams nearly netted the equalizer, pushing a shot just inches wide of the left post. Amherst finished with a 17-7 shot advantage and a 10-2 edge in penalty corners en route to its fifth win of the season.
Game Preview: Ranked eighth in the latest NFHCA National Coaches Poll, Amherst currently sits second in the NESCAC standings with a 4-1 league ledger and a 6-1 overall record. Having lost two of their last three games, including a 2-1 decision to Skidmore, Williams (4-4) will look to remain in the playoff hunt by improving upon its 1-3 mark against NESCAC opponents.
Having scored at least three goals in five of its seven games this season, the Lord Jeffs carry the NESCAC’s highest-scoring offense into this year’s showdown with the Ephs. Ranking second nationally in penalty corners won (15.29), Amherst has posted a league-high +24 scoring margin, while recording a season-high seven goals in a shutout win over Bates.
Nine different Jeffs have recorded a point this season, with eight players having notched a goal. Krista Zsitvay ’14 (New Vernon, N.J.) and McMahon have led the charge, ranking fourth (2.43) and fifth (2.14), respectively, in points per game, with Zsitvay also posting the third most goals in the league (7). Alex Philie ’14 (East Sandwich, Mass.) has also helped kick-start the Jeff offense this season, sitting tied for fifth in the NESCAC in assists (4).
Also impressive have been Amherst’s defensive efforts led by Stephanie Clegg ’12 (Woburn, Mass.), Sarah McCarrick ’12 (New Canaan, Conn.) and first-year goalkeeper Rachel Tannenbaum (Berwyn, Pa.). Behind a pair of experienced defenders, the Jeffs have allowed one goal or fewer in five of their seven contests this season, while also posting a pair of shutouts. Tannenbaum has done well in her first season in net, ranking second in the NESCAC in save percentage (0.848) and goals-against average (1.00).
Williams enters the game ranked sixth in the NESCAC in goals-against average (1.45) and eighth in scoring (1.88). Headlining the Ephs’ attack are Emily Jablonski ’14 and Caitlin Conlon ’15. Jablonski currently sits tied for 10th in the NESCAC in points (10), while Conlon ranks second on the team in points (8) on three goals and a pair of helpers. Defensively, the Ephs will look to sophomore goalkeeper Ariana Spiliotes to keep the high-flying Lord Jeff offense at bay. Through eight games she has posted a .755 save percentage and 1.45 goals-against average.
WOMEN’S SOCCER – SATURDAY, OCT. 8 * 12 P.M.
#14 Amherst (7-0-0/5-0-0 NESCAC) at #7 Williams (6-1-1/3-0-1 NESCAC)
With a win or tie against Williams Saturday, Amherst would set a program record for the best start in school history.
Live Coverage: Williams College will be providing live audio on a pay-per-view basis.
Series History: Amherst and Williams are an even 15-15-7 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 4-1-1 in the past six meetings. After dropping last season’s regular season matchup, 1-0, Williams returned the favor in the NESCAC Championship finals, securing a 1-0 victory of its own to capture a fourth consecutive conference crown.
Last Meeting: Williams’ Sara Wild ’11 netted the game’s lone goal in the 74th minute to propel the third-seeded Ephs to a 1-0 win in the 2011 NESCAC Championship title game. With both teams mired in a defensive struggle, Wild received the ball on the right side of the box with just under 17 minutes remaining in regulation. Looking toward goal, the Eph senior ripped a well placed shot toward the far post, beating a diving Allie Horwitz ’12 (Woodbridge, Conn.) for the game winner. Amherst finished the game with a 12-10 edge in shots and a 5-1 advantage in corners.
Game Preview: Matching a program record with a 7-0-0 start, the first-place Lord Jeffs currently lead the NESCAC in 11 statistical categories, including goals per game (3.47), goals-against average (0.14), shutouts (7), goals allowed (1) and corners per game (7.00).
Critical to the success of the Amherst offense this season has been a balanced attack that features six players with at least two goals. Sarah Duffy ’14 (Fairfield, Conn.) leads the way, ranking second in the NESCAC in points (18) and goals (7), while sitting tied for first in assists (4). Also holding claim as the league’s assist leader is teammate Kathryn Nathan ’13 (Pembroke, Mass.).
Surrendering its only goal in a 2-1 double overtime win at Hamilton, the Lord Jeff defense—led by senior captains Jill Kochanek (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Allison Dorey (San Francisco, Calif.)—has allowed the fewest goals in program history through seven games (Amherst allowed two goals in its first seven games in 1996). A three-year starter in net, Horwitz has enjoyed arguably her best season to date, ranking first in the NESCAC in goals-against average (0.14) and second in the nation in save percentage (0.957).
Going 3-0-1 over its last four games, Williams enters Saturday’s game ranked second in the NESCAC in goals allowed (2) and tied for seventh in goals per game (1.57). Leading the Ephs offensively is senior forward Brett Eisenhart, who sits tied for fifth in the conference in points (11) and goals (5). Other scoring threats include Caitlyn Clark ’13 and Sachi Siegelman ’12, who have combined for three goals and a pair of helpers on the season.
Anchoring Williams’ defense are goalkeepers Hannah Van Wetter ’15 and Laura Wann ’13. Logging over 500 minutes in net, Wetter leads the nation in save percentage (0.958) and ranks second in the NESCAC in goals-against average (0.21). Also standing out is Wann, who has posted a .917 save percentage and 0.40 goals-against average in 227:08 minutes.
MEN’S SOCCER – SUNDAY, OCT. 9 * 11 A.M.
#4 Amherst (8-0-0/4-0-0 NESCAC) at #25 Williams (4-2-1/3-1-1 NESCAC)
Ranked fourth in the NSCAA poll, Amherst will look to take out its second ranked opponent Sunday when it faces #25 Williams.
Live Coverage: Williams College will be providing live audio on a pay-per-view basis.
Series History: Amherst and Williams have met 92 times since 1922, with the Lord Jeffs holding a narrow 42-39-11 advantage over Williams in the all-time series. Since the 2006 meeting was rained out, Amherst has gone 2-1-1 against its archrival. Battling to a 1-1 draw last season, Amherst and Williams recorded the series’ first tie since 1995, when the game also ended at 1-1.
Last Meeting: Amherst broke a scoreless deadlock in the 29th minute when James Mooney ’12 (Princeton, N.J.) sent a hard pass across the face of the goal to Ian Rothkopf ’12 (Harvard, Mass.), who snuck the game’s first tally inside the far post. With just 6:36 remaining in the first, Williams tied the game on Patrick Ebobisse’s bending shot that beat a diving Lennar Kovacs ’12 (Wolfersdorf, Germany). Despite getting outshot 8-3 during the second half and both overtime periods, Kovacs and the Amherst defense held on for a 1-1 draw.
Game Preview: Ranked fourth in the latest NSCAA coaches poll, Amherst will put its unblemished 8-0-0 (4-0-0 NESCAC) record on the line Sunday as it tries to keep pace with first-place Wesleyan (6-0-1 NESCAC). Scoring a league-leading 2.71 goals per game, Amherst has scored at least three goals in six of the squad’s eight contests. Equally impressive in the back, the Jeffs sit tied for second in the NESCAC in goals allowed (4), having posted five shutouts.
With nine players having scored a goal, Amherst has a host of options up top, led by Jae Heo ’14 (Changwon, S. Korea) and Spencer Noon ’13 (Farmington, Conn.) Heo currently leads the league in goals (6), while Noon, who has scored in five of the team’s last six games, sits tied for third (5). Alejandro Sucre ’13 (Caracas, Venezuela) and Casey McNamara ’13 (Montclair, N.J.) have combined for six goals and two assists, while Max Fikke ’14 (New York, N.Y.) leads the conference with four assists.
Among those looking to slow the Williams attack will be defenders Sam Kaplan ’12 (Brunswick, Maine) and Chris Lerner ’13 (Canton, Mass.). Behind the Amherst backline stands Kovacs, a four-year starter enjoying a stellar senior season in which he ranks second in the NESCAC in save percentage (.900) and third in goals-against average (0.50). Logging over 542 minutes in net this season, Kovacs has already recorded three shutouts, upping his career total to 27.
Ranking sixth in the league in goals per game (1.43), Williams will look to rely on an equally stingy defense that has only allowed four goals and posted four shutouts. The Ephs have a pair of proven options in net in Peter Morrell ’14 and Than Finan ’13. Logging 380 minutes, Morrell ranks second in the NESCAC in goals-against average (0.47) and is tied for seventh in save percentage (.800), while Finan has gone 2-1 with a 0.62 GAA and a .750 save percentage.
Sophomore User Kushaina headlines the Williams offense, ranking sixth in goals (3) and tied for 11th in points (6). Matt Kastner ’14 has also recorded a pair of markers on the year, while Doug Weinrib ’13, Zach Grady ’15 and Nick Pugliese ’12 sit tied for fifth in assists (2).