Amherst Stays on Track with 4-0 Win at Conn. College
Junior Stephanie Yesnik tallied a goal and an assist to help increase the Jeffs' unbeaten streak to five games.
NEW LONDON, CT – The Amherst College women’s soccer team traveled to face the Conn. College Camels on Harkness Green. Amherst entered the game on a four-game unbeaten streak, looking for their fifth win in the NESCAC, as the Lord Jeffs stayed hot with a 4-0 win to move to 5-1-1 in conference play.
Amherst struck first just 5:34 into the first half, when junior striker Stephanie Yesnik (Arlington, VA) stole the ball at the top of the 18-yard box from a Camel defender. Yesnik pushed the ball to the end line and clipped a pass to the near post where a streaking Kyla Woodhouse (Topsham, ME) met the ball. The first-year hit a one-time volley to beat Camel goalkeeper Bailey Andrews for the goal.
In the 14th minute, Woodhouse nearly gave Amherst a two-goal lead when she was sent in one-on-one with Andrews. Her initial shot was stopped, and a second effort sailed wide into the side netting.
Amherst continued to push forward and dominate the run of play for the next 10 minutes. The Jeffs pushed a number of players forward, leaving the Amherst defense open to transition chances from Conn. College.
The Camels nearly found an equalizer on a counter attack when senior midfielder Annalisse Rios swung a beautiful cross in front of Amherst sophomore goalie Lili Ferguson (Winnetka, IL). A Conn. College forward met the ball, but was unable to corral the pass and get a shot off.
First-year forward Chelsea Johnson hit a hard shot from just outside the goal box in the 30th minute that caught the Amherst defense off guard. Ferguson was up to the challenge and dove to her right, pushing the ball off the post to preserve Amherst’s one-goal lead.
With 12:13 left until halftime, Amherst found the net again when sophomore midfielder Meg Murphy (Springfield, MA) played Yesnik through alone on Andrews. Yesnik took the ball under control and neatly beat the Camel goalie for the second goal of the day.
The half time statistics portrayed a one-sided game, with Amherst holding a 15-3 edge in shots and a 5-1 advantage in corners. The Camels had a number of solid scoring opportunities in the first frame and looked dangerous on multiple occasions.
Amherst took a 3-0 lead in 58th minute when Woodhouse and Murphy combined to set up junior defender Alanna Darling (Charlton, MA), who collected the ball at the top of the box and slotted it past Andrews for the score. While Murphy picked up the lone assist on the goal, Woodhouse dummied the cross to set up the scoring play.
The best chance of the game for the Camels game came with 27 minutes left in the second half. Senior forward Jackie Wade beat Ferguson in a footrace to a loose ball, but the ball was knocked to the end line. Wade did her best to score from an impossible angle, but the shot sailed once again into the side of the net.
With 20 minutes remaining, Rios took a loose ball 40 yards away from the Amherst goal and weaved her way through a series of Lord Jeff defenders. Rios pushed a perfect ball through to sophomore striker Sharon Katz, who beat Ferguson with a shot that ultimately rolled wide of the far post.
Amherst found the net for the fourth goal of the game when senior tri-captain Heather Nowak (New Haven, CT) picked up an unassisted score in the 75th minute. Nowak settled a bouncing ball in the box after the Connecticut goalie punched a long cross, and placed her shot into the far side of the empty net.
When the final whistle blew, Amherst had registered another shutout. The result was the fourth straight scoreless game for Ferguson, who was named the NESCAC Player of the Week for her shutout streak, which now stands at 434 minutes and 25 seconds.
With the win, Amherst improved to 5-4-3 and has a winning record for the first time this season. The loss drops the Camels to 4-7 (2-5 NESCAC) on the year. Amherst returns to action Saturday at 11 a.m. for a match against visiting NESCAC and Little Three archrival Wesleyan University.