Lord Jeffs Dominate in 3-0 Win Over Mount Holyoke

Claire Bennett '12 played well and earned a shutout in her first collegiate start.

AMHERST, MA – Junior goalkeeper Claire Bennett (Westfield, NJ) earned a shutout in her first collegiate start and six players recorded a point as the Amherst College women’s soccer team picked up a 3-0 win over Mount Holyoke College Wednesday night on a cold and windy Gooding Field.

The Lord Jeffs—ranked No. 15 in Division III and No. 2 in New England—improve to 2-0-1 (1-0-1 NESCAC) on the young season, while the Lyons fall to 0-3-0 (0-0-0 NEWMAC).

Sophomore forward Hannah Cooper (Bethesda, MD) scored her first goal of the season in the 35th minute on a cross from classmate Sandy Shepherd ’13 (Coronado, CA), who picked up her first collegiate point on the assist. The hosts got insurance goals from Jill Kochanek ’12 (Pittsburgh, PA) and Jackie Hirsch ’11 (Wilmette, IL) in the second half.

Amherst is now 22-6-2 against Mount Holyoke in the all-time series. The Jeffs have won 18 consecutive meetings with the Lyons, with each of the past 15 resulting in a shutout.

The hosts made the first push when Livia Rizzo ’12 (Dover, MA) made a nice move on the end line and carried the ball into the box. Rizzo pulled up from the right side and let loose a low shot, but senior goalkeeper Elaine Harvey made a diving save to her left on the near post.  

The Jeffs would continue to challenge Harvey, taking 16 shots in the opening half and putting six on target, but they wouldn’t get on the board until late in the period. With 10:31 remaining, Shepherd sent a perfect ball from the left wing to the far post, where Cooper was positioned to push a shot past Harvey. Cooper had just subbed in and had not been on the field for more than 45 seconds when she scored to make it a 1-0 game.

Kochanek gave the Jeffs a 2-0 lead 11:42 into the second half when Amherst took advantage of a free kick after a Mount Holyoke foul. Kochanek made a great run and used her head to capitalize on a cross from Kathryn Nathan ’13 (Pembroke, MA), who was credited with the assist. Kochanek nearly scored two minutes later on another header attempt, but the ball went just wide of the net.

A Mount Holyoke turnover led to Amherst’s third goal in the 69th minute. After taking possession away from the Lyons, Rizzo played the ball ahead to Hirsch, who took care of the rest. With only Harvey to beat, Hirsch placed her shot low and past the Mount Holyoke keeper for her first goal of the season.

The visitors had their best scoring chance with 17 minutes remaining in regulation. With a free kick deep in Amherst’s zone, Margaret Hanmer ’12 made a far-post run and headed the ball just wide of the goal and past Bennett’s outstretched arms. Amherst had a pair of outstanding scoring opportunities late in the game, but Harvey came up with impressive diving saves each time.

Harvey (0-3) faced 34 shots and came up with 12 saves during a busy night in goal. Although Bennett (1-0) faced only two shots and did not record any saves, she was forced to come out of the box several times throughout the game to clear dangerous balls.

The Lord Jeffs will return to action Friday, Sept. 17, when they host Tufts University at 4:30 p.m. on Hitchcock Field. The Lyons will open their NEWMAC schedule when they host Smith College Saturday, Sept. 18, at 1 p.m. in their home opener.