Athletics

Jeffs Blank Wesleyan, Advance to NESCAC Semifinals

Leahy
Carly Leahy '11 scored in the 45th minute to give Amherst a 2-0 lead over Wesleyan.

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College field hockey team received goals from three players during a 3-0 win over Wesleyan University Sunday afternoon at Gooding Field in the NESCAC Championship quarterfinal round.

Amherst (12-3, 6-3 NESCAC)—ranked 16th in Division III and seeded fourth in the conference tournament—will take on second-seeded and fourth-ranked Bowdoin College (14-1, 8-1) next Saturday at Tufts University in the tournament’s semifinal round. The Cardinals (10-5, 5-4) were seeded fifth in the championship after posting their best regular season since 2005 but will now have to hope for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Amherst held a 1-0 lead at halftime after Carly Dudzik ’12 (Darien, CT) scored in the 28th minute, while Carly Leahy ’11 (Weston, MA) and Krista Zsitvay ’14 (New Vernon, NJ) added insurance tallies in the second half to pace the Lord Jeffs. Katie McMahon ’13 (Denville, NJ) recorded two assists for Amherst.

Wesleyan sophomore goalkeeper Tori Redding made 13 saves—10 in the first half—during an exceptional game in the cage, but the Cardinals were unable to find a solution to Amherst senior goalie Liz Schink (Chicago, IL), who made six stops of her own. Redding moves to 10-5 on the season, while Schink remains perfect at 4-0.

The Lord Jeffs increased their overall winning streak—and unbeaten streak against Wesleyan—to six games as winners of 11 of their past 12 outings. Sunday marked the first-ever meeting between the Little Three rivals in NESCAC Championship history. Amherst now holds a 23-11-2 edge in the all-time series, which dates back to 1976.

Wesleyan looked like the sharper team in the early going, as the Cardinals had taken five shots and earned four penalty corners in the first two and a half minutes of action. Schink came through for Amherst by making key saves early on despite being barraged by shots from Cardinal forward Morgan McCauley ’12.

Amherst would turn the tables and control the final 25 minutes of the first half, but the Lord Jeffs were held to only one goal thanks to outstanding play from Redding. The Jeffs nearly scored in the eighth, 17th and 19th minutes on penalty corners, but the Cardinal keeper made a number of outstanding saves.

The hosts finally broke through with 7:19 remaining in the first half when McMahon lined up for a penalty corner and delivered a pass to Dudzik, who took one touch and crushed a shot that Redding had no chance of stopping. The Jeffs nearly padded their lead in the final minute of the period, but Redding made saves on a shot by Dudzik and a rebound attempt by McMahon.

The second half featured significantly fewer shots and corners than did the first half, as neither offense looked as sharp as it did in the first 35 minutes. The Jeffs’ second goal came nine minutes and 38 seconds into the second period when Rachel Egan ’11 (Worcester, MA) found Leahy on the doorstep after a penalty corner. Amherst would add its final touch with 10:30 to play when McMahon sent a pass from the endline to Zsitvay, who beat Redding to make it a 3-0 game.  

Amherst held a 20-10 edge in shots (6-3 second half) and a convincing 16-5 advantage in corners (4-0 second half).

Next Saturday’s game between Amherst and Bowdoin will be a rematch of the 2010 season opener. The Polar Bears successfully defended their home field in that game, fending off an impressive Lord Jeff comeback to hang on for a 4-3 win. Amherst is making its first appearance in the conference semifinals since 2006 and will be looking to play in the NESCAC title game for the first time since 2001.

BOX SCORE

2010 NESCAC Field Hockey Championship
Quarterfinal Round – Sunday, Oct. 31
No. 1 Tufts def. No. 8 Bates, 4-1
No. 2 Bowdoin def. No. 7 Conn., 2-0
No. 6 Trinity def. No. 3 Middlebury, 3-2
No. 4 Amherst def. No. 5 Wesleyan, 3-0

Semifinal Round – Saturday, Nov. 6 (@ Tufts)
No. 1 Tufts vs. No. 6 Trinity – 11 a.m.
No. 2 Bowdoin vs. No. 4 Amherst – 1:30 p.m.

Championship Game – Sunday, Nov. 7 (@ Tufts)
Semifinal Winners – 12 p.m.