Amherst Dominates No. 22 Springfield in 2-1 Win

First-year Kathryn Nathan had a goal and an assist during Amherst's 2-1 win over Springfield.

AMHERST, MA – In a battle between nationally ranked women’s soccer teams, No. 16 Amherst College dominated the stat sheet to earn a 2-1 win over No. 22 Springfield College Wednesday night at Hitchcock Field. The Lord Jeffs improve to 3-1-0 (2-0-0 NESCAC) on the season, while the Pride fall to 4-2-1 (0-0-0 NEWMAC).

First-year Kathryn Nathan (Pembroke, MA) recorded a goal and an assist—her first collegiate points—to lead Amherst on the day, with junior Hanna St. Marie (Brooklyn, NY) and senior tri-captain Meg Murphy (Springfield, MA) adding a goal and an assist, respectively, to mark their first points of 2009.

Sophomore midfielder Amber Thornton (Troy, NY) scored an unassisted goal for the Pride late in the first half to cut her team’s deficit to one, but Amherst held the visitors scoreless in the second half to hang on for the win. Thornton’s goal was her first of the season.

Sophomore goalkeeper Allie Horwitz (Woodbridge, CT) made three saves to improve to 3-1-0 on the year, while junior Katie Delude (Ludlow, MA) stopped nine shots in the loss to move to 2-2-0. The hosts held a commanding 26-6 advantage in shots and a 9-1 edge in corner kicks on the day.

The Lord Jeffs controlled the tempo from the start and needed less than eight minutes to score the game’s first goal. Murphy played the ball from the endline to Nathan, who was positioned just outside the 18-yard box. Nathan put a soft touch on the ball and sent a perfect shot just over the outstretched arms of Delude to give Amherst a 1-0 lead 7:39 into the half.

Less than four minutes later Nathan was involved in another goal, this time picking up the assist on a well-placed corner kick. Nathan’s cross made its way to St. Marie, who scored on a header to make it a 2-0 lead after 11 minutes and 30 seconds of action.

The Jeffs looked dominant while out-shooting the Pride by a 17-2 margin in the first half, but Springfield would take advantage of a defensive lapse by Amherst to get on the scoreboard before halftime. Thornton capitalized on a golden opportunity when she stole the ball deep in the Amherst zone and snuck a shot just inside the near post to beat Horwitz with only 4:52 to play before intermission.

Springfield nearly capitalized on another Amherst miscue when a free kick was dropped by Horwitz in the box, but the Lord Jeff keeper recovered nicely and smothered the loose ball to end the threat and preserve the 2-1 lead.

Amherst came out firing again in the second half when junior Jackie Hirsch (Wilmette, IL) hit the crossbar just four minutes in. The Jeffs knocked on the door again eight minutes later when Nathan played a ball through to junior Kyla Woodhouse (Topsham, ME), who ripped a shot with her left foot but had it knocked away by Delude.

Eighteen minutes into the second half Springfield nearly capitalized on another Horwitz drop, but the Lord Jeff defense cleared the ball unharmed. Amherst went right back on the attack when Nathan received a pass inside the 18 and showed off her dribbling skills to beat several Springfield defenders, but her shot from inside the box went just wide left. Nine minutes later Nathan sent a corner to Rizzo, whose header was punched over the net on yet another nice effort from Delude.

The Pride made some late pushes but could never find the tying goal. A corner attempt with seven minutes remaining in regulation did not result in a shot, and a free kick from 30 yards out with 20 seconds on the clock sailed high to seal the victory for Amherst. The Lord Jeffs are now 8-2-1 against Springfield this decade.

The Jeffs return to action Saturday, Sept. 26 when they travel to put their undefeated NESCAC record on the line against Connecticut College at noon. The Pride will also be traveling on Saturday when they open up NEWMAC play with a 12 p.m. game against Babson College.