Amherst Upsets Ninth-Ranked Tufts, 3-1
Sophomore Jackie Hirsch had a pair of assists in the Jeffs' win.
Saturday's win came just three days after the Lord Jeffs earned a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over 16th-ranked Wheaton College on the road.
Tufts (5-1-0/3-1-0 NESCAC) entered Saturday’s game out-scoring opponents 10-0, but it took the Lord Jeffs (4-1-2/3-0-1 NESCAC) less than 15 minutes to become the first team to score on the Jumbos this year. Amherst senior quad-captain Kate Moriarty (Westminster, MA) played a perfect ball into the box on a free kick from just over midfield, with first-year Jill Kochanek (Pittsburgh, PA) soaring above the defense and using her head to flick a shot over the head of junior goalkeeper Kate Minnehan (Hopkinton, NH) in the 14th minute.
The Jumbos nearly matched Amherst’s goal less than one minute later, but a header from sophomore Audrey Almy (Portland, OR) off a corner kick was grabbed by junior keeper Lili Ferguson (Winnetka, IL). Tufts got another great opportunity on a corner kick in the 21st minute and this time converted, with junior Ali Maxwell (Exeter, NH) scoring on a header after Ferguson couldn’t corral the cross from first-year Lauren O’Connor (Dudley, MA).
The Jeffs controlled the tempo in the final 20 minutes of the first half and created several scoring opportunities, but they could not retake the lead before intermission. Sophomore Kyla Woodhouse (Topsham, ME) fired a low, hard shot to the near post in the 25th minute but was denied by Minnehan, while junior Meg Murphy (Springfield, MA) dribbled herself free in the 37th minute and ripped a shot off the crossbar.
The hosts held a 12-4 advantage in shots at the break, while Tufts took five corner kicks in the first 45 minutes compared to just one from Amherst. Minnehan made three saves but was replaced by sophomore Hannah Jacobs (Mill Valley, CA) at the start of the second frame, while Ferguson stopped two shots in the first half before being subbed out for first-year Allie Horwitz (Woodbridge, CT).
First-year defender Jill Kochanek became the first player to score a goal against Tufts this season.
Tufts once again responded well when a Maxwell header got over the head of Horwitz, but the ball bounced on the crossbar before falling out of bounds, as the Jumbos just barely missed out on the equalizer. Amherst took over from there and began a long stretch of dominance, with Woodhouse, senior quad-captain Alanna Darling (Charlton, MA) and first-year Livia Rizzo (Dover, MA) each nearly adding to the Jeffs’ lead in a span of only three minutes.
Amherst’s persistence paid off and the Jeffs took a 3-1 lead with less than 12 minutes to play. Hirsch once again picked up an assist on a beautiful cross into the box, this time with senior Stephanie Yesnik (Arlington, VA) settling the pass, turning toward the goal and lobbing a shot to the far post and over the head of Minnehan, who had re-entered the game in the 68th minute.
Junior tri-captain Cara Cadigan (Nahant, MA) handed some momentum back to the Jumbos when she rattled the crossbar from 25 yards out with nine minutes to play, but the Jeffs regained control and were just as intense in the final minutes as they were to begin the second half. In a 30-second span, Amherst had one shot get past Minnehan only to have it saved on the goal line by a pair of Tufts defenders, while a Murphy free kick bounced on top of the crossbar and rolled out of play.
The Jeffs held on for a 3-1 victory to mark their first win over Tufts since 2001 and the first win over the Jumbos at Hitchcock Field since 2000. Amherst held a commanding 27-8 advantage in shots, while Tufts held a 6-5 edge in corners. Minnehan and Jacobs made four saves and one save, respectively, with Horwitz matching Ferguson by stopping a pair of shots in the second half.
Murphy and Rizzo each had exceptional games for Amherst, as they combined for 13 of the Jeffs' 27 shots and each played the entire 90 minutes.
The Lord Jeffs return to action Wednesday, Oct. 8 when they host Connecticut College at 4:30 p.m. Tufts will next take on Brandeis University Tuesday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m.