Jeffs Fall 3-2 in Overtime to Williams in NESCAC Finals

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WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The 2nd-seeded Amherst College women’s soccer team took on undefeated and top-seeded Williams College this afternoon in the 2008 NESCAC Championship finals. The Ephs rallied from a 2-1 deficit to take a 3-2 overtime win and claim their second straight conference crown.

Amherst earned a spot in today’s championship tilt with a 1-0 win over rival Middlebury College yesterday, while Williams defeated Bowdoin 6-1 in the other semifinal.

Lord Jeff goalie Allie Horwitz (Woodbridge, CT) was called into action just over a minute into the game, as Williams leading scorer Gabrielle Woodson broke in free from the Amherst back line. Horwitz turned away the shot, and just minutes later Woodson hit another shot over the crossbar.

Amherst responded 10 minutes into the half when a Natalie Ferraiolo (Palo Alto, CA) cross found the Williams 6-yard box. Eph keeper Lauren Sinnenberg made a diving save to keep Amherst from finding the end of the feed.

William took a 1-0 lead with 27:31 to play in the first half when Brianna Wolfson carried the ball 40 yards before ripping a shot to the near upper corner from the right side of the Amherst goal box.

Amherst responded just over five minutes later on a rebound strike from junior Meg Murphy (Springfield, MA). Sophomore Kyla Woodhouse (Topsham, ME) played a ball in from the right wing that an Eph hit back into trouble. Murphy was there to pounce on the opportunity, volleying a hard shot past Sinnenberg.

The equalizer swung momentum in the Jeffs' favor and energized an Amherst team that had faced constant pressure up to that point. It was just over eight minutes later when that momentum resulted in another Amherst score. Murphy found sophomore Jackie Hirsch (Wilmette, IL) this time for a composed shot to the lower left corner from just eight yards out, giving the Jeffs a 2-1 lead and marking just the second time this season Williams had surrendered more than one goal in a game.

Early in the second half, Woodson had a great chance to tie the game at 2-2 on a Williams corner kick, but her shot once again went over the crossbar. With 33:20 remaining in regulation, Wolfson nearly found the net again after escaping a slide tackle from Amherst senior quad-captain Kate Moriarty (Westminster, MA), but her shot went high.

With 21:05 to play, Eph rookie Brett Eisenhart played a cross into the Amherst goal mouth. Horwitz was unable to punch the ball out of danger, but senior quad-captain Kate Bentley (Atherton, CA) was there to clean up the mess with a clearance up the left side.

At the 11-minute mark, Amherst back Kathy Nolan (Palo Alto, CA) was in a pileup in the box with Woodson and Horwitz, but no foul was called. Horwitz eventually dove onto the loose ball and prevented a scoring chance.

With 4:01 remaining, Woodson found the side of Amherst’s net after a long pileup in front of Horwitz. The ball fell right to Woodson for her 12th goal of the season, and possibly the most important of the year.

The game was sent into overtime deadlocked at 2-2 in front of a large crowd, but Williams needed just 2:38 of the extra frame to steal another result from the Lord Jeffs. After a bouncing ball got by Amherst’s Jill Kochanek (Pittsburgh, PA), Eph forward Sarah Walmsley put a shot off the hands of Horwitz and into the lower right corner.

Williams held a 26-16 edge in shots, while Horwitz made eight saves to Sinnenberg’s seven. With the loss, Amherst drops to 11-2-3 on the year, and will likely receive an at-large bid to the upcoming NCAA Tournament, while the Ephs grab the NESCAC’s automatic slot with a 16-0-1 mark.

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