Lord Jeffs Advance to NESCAC Semis on Murphy's OT Winner



AMHERST, MA – The 2nd-seeded Amherst College women’s soccer team advanced past No. 7 Wesleyan University this afternoon in the Quarterfinal Round of the 2009 NESCAC Championship Tournament with a 2-1 overtime win at home. The Lord Jeffs saw senior co-captain Meg Murphy (Springfield, MA) score a pair of beautiful goals in the win, including the game-winner in the second minute of overtime.

With the victory, Amherst improves to 12-2-1 (7-1-1 NESCAC) and will face No. 3 Middlebury College on Saturday on the campus of host and top-seed Williams College. The Ephs will take on No. 4 Tufts University at 11 a.m., before the Jeffs and Panthers play at 1:30 p.m. in the second semifinal. The winners will play for the 2009 NESCAC Championship at 12 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.

The Lord Jeffs and Cardinals played just eight days ago in the final regular season home game for Amherst. The Jeffs picked up a 2-0 win that afternoon, and entered the day hoping to repeat on the result.

In the 17th minute of the first half, Murphy put the Lord Jeffs on top 1-0 with the game’s first goal. Junior forward Kyla Woodhouse (Topsham, ME) carried the ball down the wing, before serving a cross into the box for Murphy. Murphy unleashed a diving header than flew on a line into the top right corner.

Murphy’s first goal of the day held form until the 65th minute when Wesleyan equalized on a transition score. Cardinal rookie Kaylin Berger (Farmington, CT) played a long through ball between the Amherst back line for classmate Katrina Ellis-Ferrara (Concord, MA) to run onto. As a Lord Jeff defender tried to haul Ellis-Ferrara down to prevent a breakaway, the Cardinal striker gathered her footing and chipped a shot from the top of the box over Amherst keeper Allie Horwitz (Woodbridge, CT) as she came off her line to tie the game 1-1.

Moments later, Wesleyan had a shot saved by Horwitz that looked like it might trickle over the line into the Amherst net, only to see sophomore defender Livia Rizzo (Dover, MA) swoop in to clear the ball off the line. In the final minute of regulation, the Cardinals nearly stole the game again when a shot hit the Amherst crossbar and stayed out, sending the game into overtime.

Just one minute into the extra stanza, Wesleyan was whistled for a foul just outside the box on the left side of the field. Murphy stood over the ball with a wall of Wesleyan defenders set up ten yards away. The Lord Jeff star bent a right-footed shot around the right side of the wall and into the top left corner of the Wesleyan goal for the game-winner.

Today’s goals were Murphy’s fourth and fifth of the season, while the game-winner in overtime was the 10th of her illustrious career. Wesleyan’s Kate Connolly-Smithwick (Center Moriches, NY) made nine saves in net for the Cardinals, while Horwitz turned away six shots in goal for the Jeffs.