Amherst Earns Playoff Berth with 7-2 Win Over Conn. College

Sophomore Molly Malloy tallied a career-high five goals to help lead Amherst into the postseason.  

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College field hockey team entered Tuesday night’s game against Conn. College with a chance to clinch a spot in the upcoming NESCAC Championship Tournament, while the visiting Camels needed a win to keep their postseason hopes alive. The Jeffs took a 4-1 lead into halftime and added another three goals in the second half, as they cruised to a crucial 7-2 win.

Amherst took 11 shots in the opening 10 minutes of action, forcing goalkeeper Jamie Sheahan to come up with seven early saves. The Jeffs earned a penalty corner after a flurry of offense, allowing sophomore Haley Douds (South Orange, NJ) to score the game’s first goal off a rebound.

Less than six minutes later, senior tri-captain Christa Porcaro (Pelham, NY) carried the ball down the right wing and sent a cross to sophomore Molly Malloy (Stamford, CT), who sent a one-timer to the back of the goal, as Amherst jumped out to a 2-0 lead with 19:20 remaining in the first half. The Camel defense had a sense of déjà vu when another Porcaro cross was one-timed by Malloy for a goal to increase the Jeffs’ lead to 3-0 with 14 minutes showing on the clock.

Porcaro continued her dominance in the first half when she picked up her third assist of the night by setting up Douds’ second goal of the half. The Camels got on the board when senior Courtney Smith carried the ball down the left side and played a cross to junior Jenny Roe, who drilled her shot home to cut the deficit to three goals with 7:29 remaining before halftime.

Amherst took its 4-1 lead into halftime with a 19-2 advantage in shots, as Sheahan came up with 13 saves before the break. The Camels’ offense looked much sharper early in the second half, and their persistence paid off when sophomore Kristen Dirmaier sent a long pass toward the goal after a penalty corner, as senior Jill Mauer came up with the ball and snuck a shot past Amherst goalkeeper Kathleen Boucher (Washington, DC) to make it a two-goal game with 25:38 remaining in regulation.

Malloy handed the momentum back to Amherst when the Jeffs once again capitalized on a penalty corner. Junior Catherine Calvert (Lawrenceville, NJ) picked up the assist on the play, as Malloy completed her hat trick with a backhanded flip past Sheahan to bring the lead back to three goals with 20 minutes to play in the half.

The Jeffs’ sixth goal of the night marked Malloy’s fourth tally and Porcaro’s fourth helper, as the tandem connected once again when Porcaro sent the ball to the middle from the right side, allowing Malloy to send a rocket to the back of the goal.

Just four minutes later on another Amherst penalty corner, Calvert received the ball at the top of the arc and sent a crisp pass to Douds, who was parked just to the left of the goal. Douds used a solid first touch and found Malloy at the far post, as the sophomore standout tallied her fifth goal with 12:02 to play.

Neither team was able to tack on any more goals, as Amherst punched its ticket for the NESCAC tournament with its 7-2 win. The Jeffs improved to 8-5 (4-4 NESCAC) on the year, while the Camels fell to 6-7 (2-6 NESCAC). Boucher stopped four shots for Amherst, while Sheahan finished with 17 saves.

The Lord Jeffs return to action Saturday for a regular season finale at archrival Williams College. Amherst will host its opening round tournament game with a win over the Ephs, but a loss will result in opening the postseason on the road.