NESCAC Quarterfinals Preview
Contact: Ben Badua
No. 5 Amherst (10-4, 6-4 NESCAC) at No. 4 Trinity (11-3, 7-3 NESCAC)
Quickly becoming one of the league’s most competitive rivalries, the last seven match-ups dating back to 2007 have been decided by one goal, with four games needing overtime to determine a winner. Earning a 1-0 triumph in Hartford in the 2011 season opener, Amherst dropped this year’s showdown 1-0 in overtime on Gooding Field. The Bantams took the squads’ lone postseason meeting, defeating the fourth-seeded Jeffs in the 2008 NESCAC quarterfinals, 1-0.
Sarah Duncan ’14 buried a penalty stroke with just eight seconds left in overtime to lift Trinity to a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Amherst on Gooding Field. Amherst finished with a 10-9 shot advantage and a 13-7 edge in corners, but could not slip a goal past junior goalkeeper Anne Scalambrino, who finished with four saves. Rachel Tannenbaum ’15 made five stops in the loss, while Krista Zsitvay ’14 and Katie McMahon ’13 led the Jeff offense with three shots apiece.
Amherst carries one of the league’s most potent offenses into Saturday’s contest, ranking third in the NESCAC in goals per game (3.5). The program’s all-time leader in career points, goals and assists, McMahon is in the midst of another outstanding season; tying for the team lead in goals (11), while racking up seven assists. Factoring into the scoring in nine of the team’s 14 games, she tops the squad in points with 29.
Madeline Tank ’15 has also made her presence felt with a strong sophomore campaign, putting away 11 markers, while having scored in each of the past three games. Starting out 2012 red hot, she netted a tally in each of the team’s first five outings, before again catching fire, recording a goal in five of her last six contests. Zsitvay could also be a factor, having piled up 22 points on nine goals and four helpers in 14 games.
Tannenbaum anchors the Jeffs’ defensive efforts, posting a 10-4 mark in net. Logging 959:23 minutes, she currently sits second in the conference in save percentage (.831), while ranking amongst the league leaders in goals against (15) and GAA (1.09).
Seniors Hadley Duncan and Haley Thompson make for a formidable one-two punch up top. With two goals and an assist in her last three games, Duncan leads the team in points with 21 (10 G, 1 A). Not far behind, Thompson has dished out four helpers in her last three outings, ranking second on the squad in points (20) on six goals and eight assists.
Sarah Duncan and Olivia Tapsall ’16 give the Bantams some depth in the attacking zone, sitting tied for third on the team in points (17). Duncan, who netted the game winner against Amherst on a penalty stroke earlier this season, has tallied five goals and seven assists, while Tapsall has amassed seven markers and three helpers in 14 appearances.
Playing all 1001:42 minutes in net, Scalambrino has been consistently solid, compiling an 11-3 mark with a 1.19 GAA, .660 save percentage and five shutouts.
No. 6 Colby (8-6-0, 4-6-0 NESCAC) at No. 3 Amherst (12-1-1, 8-1-1 NESCAC)
Boasting a 12-0-2 record against its northern rival since 2000, Amherst has dominated the last five meetings, outscoring Colby 19-2 during that stretch. The Jeffs earned a 4-0 shutout win on Hitchcock Field in the regular season meeting on Oct. 13. The squads played to a 0-0 tie in their only NESCAC Championship match-up in 2005, with Colby advancing to the semifinals on penalty kicks.
Amherst netted four first half goals en route to a 4-0 victory over Colby. Megan Kim ’16 opened the scoring just 8:30 in off a Kate Sisk ’14 assist. Sisk then set up junior Amanda Brisco’s score in the 16th minute, before Mel Stier ’15 made it 3-0 with a tally at 27:47. Sarah Duffy ’14 capped off the scoring with an unassisted marker at 42:13.
The Jeffs held a 22-11 shot advantage, while the Mules finished with a 7-2 edge in corners. Amherst first-year keeper Holly Burwick ’16 made six saves, while Emily Brook ’15 and Jayde Bennett ’13 combined for seven stops.
The NESCAC’s highest scoring offense (3.0 gpg), Amherst’s balanced attack features six players with at least 10 points. Kathryn Nathan ’13, who has handed out a conference-best 10 assists, ranks second in the league in points (20). Amassing three goals and six helpers down the stretch, she has factored into the scoring in five of the team’s last six games.
Kim and Brisco give the Jeffs some depth at the forward position, tying for second on the team in points (16). Making an immediate impact in her first full season, Kim has registered six goals and four assists, while Brisco has compiled five markers and six helpers.
Giving up the second-fewest goals in the NESCAC (8), Amherst’s defense has been consistently solid in 2012, surrendering just one goal in its first seven games. Giving up just two goals in their final five, the Jeffs have posted nine shutouts on the year. Burwick anchors the team’s efforts in the back, logging 1196:52 minutes in net, while sitting second in the conference in save percentage (0.869) and goals-against average (0.60).
Anne Papadellis ’14 leads a Colby offense averaging 1.7 goals per game, recording a team-high 17 points on seven goals and three assists. Crysti Tsjiura ’14 and Maddie Tight ’15 have also given opposing defenses trouble, tallying three scores apiece.
Brook and Bennett have done a good job organizing the Mule backline while splitting time in net. Going 6-4 on the season, Brook carried an .815 save percentage and 1.19 goals-against into Saturday’s contest, while Bennett sits at 2-2 on the year with a .667 save percentage and a 1.71 GAA.
No. 7 Middlebury (6-6-1, 3-6-1 NESCAC) at No. 2 Amherst (12-0-2, 8-0-2)
Having met in every NESCAC postseason since 2005, Amherst and Middlebury renew one of the conference’s longest-standing rivalries. Winners of three-straight against the Panthers, the Jeffs will look to improve upon their 3-4-2 all-time record against Middlebury in the NESCAC Championship.
Meeting in the semifinals the last two seasons, Amherst dispatched of the Panthers 2-1 in double-overtime a year ago, while Middlebury earned a 2-0 decision in 2010. The Jeffs took this year’s regular season showdown in Vermont, 2-0, on Sept. 23.
Jae Heo ’14 and James Mooney ’13E each netted a goal to propel Amherst to a 2-0 victory over Middlebury in late September. Heading in the game’s first score at 38:24, Mooney added an insurance tally in the 82nd minute, ripping a shot past senior goalkeeper Zach Abdu-Glass that deflected off a Middlebury defender.
Amherst held a 9-2 shot advantage, while Middlebury finished with a 6-3 edge in corners. Thomas Bull ’16 did not need to make a save in the win, while Abdu-Glass made three stops for the Panthers.
The league’s highest scoring offense (3.1 gpg), Amherst features a lineup that boasts four players with at least 10 points. The first person in program history to crack the 100-point plateau, Spencer Noon ’13 is in the midst of another stellar season, leading the conference in points (24) and goals (10). Factoring into the scoring in 10 of the team’s 14 games, he has been on a tear over his last five, racking up nine points on four goals and an assist.
Heo and Mikey Hoeksema ’15 have also helped shoulder the offensive load this season, dishing out a conference-best seven assists apiece. Scoring goals in six of the team’s first seven outings, Heo has also become more of a distributor during the squad’s second-half run, handing out four helpers during the final seven games.
The nation’s top-ranked defense, Amherst’s backline has been consistently stingy all season, leading the country in goals-against average (0.15) and shutouts (12), having allowed just two goals in 2012. Led by co-captain Chris Lerner ’13, the Amherst defense has surrendered just 26 shots on goal in 14 games. Putting together a tremendous rookie campaign, Bull currently sits second nationally in goals-against average (0.15) and third in save percentage (.913).
Goals have been hard to come by for a Middlebury attack that ranks last in the league in goals per game (1.0). Alvand Hajizadeh ’13 has been the Panthers’ most reliable threat with a team-high 10 points on four goals and two assists. Harper Williams ’15 has also made an impact in the attacking third with three goals and an assist.
Anchoring the Panthers’ defensive efforts, Abdu-Glass has posted a 6-6-1 mark in 1190:39 minutes in net with a 0.98 goals-against average and a .776 save percentage.