Jeffs Suffer 2-1 Double OT Loss to Keene State

First-year Amanda Brisco scored Amherst's goal
in the loss to Keene State.

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College women’s soccer team suffered a 2-1 double-overtime loss this evening in non-conference play against visiting Keene State College. Amherst scored the game’s first goal in the fourth minute, but Keene State’s Katie Bradford scored in the 79th minute to force extra time, before putting home the game-winner in the 106th minute.

The loss drops the Lord Jeffs to 1-4-0 in games played out of the NESCAC this season and 5-5-2 overall, while Keene improves to 11-4-2. After today, Amherst has just a pair of NESCAC games remaining on its 2010 slate. After traveling to face Wesleyan University in conference and Little Three play on Saturday afternoon, the Jeffs will play their regular season finale next Friday at home against Trinity College. If Amherst tops the Cardinals and Bantams, only Tufts can steal the top seed in the upcoming NESCAC Championship by winning both of its remaining conference games.

Amherst took a 1-0 lead just 3:09 into the game as Kathryn Nathan (Pembroke, MA) caused a turnover in the Keene goal box. The ball ultimately bounced to rookie Amanda Brisco (Houston, TX), who slotted a right footed shot past a diving Megan Dempsey and into the far corner of Keene’s net.

Keene State nearly equalized in the 18th minute, as  Bradford held the ball inside the Amherst six with her back to goal. Bradford laid the ball off to Erin Griffin, and her initial shot was almost pushed over the line by Jessica Berthiaume. Amherst goalie Allie Horwitz (Woodbridge, CT) made a scrambling save to stop the ball inches from the goal line.

Both the Lord Jeffs and Owls had very close scoring chances in the first three minutes of the second half. Jackie Hirsch (Wilmette, IL) carried a ball into the Keene box and dropped it off for Nathan, but her shot was cleared off the line by an Owl defender. On the ensuing trip up the field, Keene captain Nora Mahoney played a bouncing ball across the goal mouth to Bradford, but her half-volley flew harmlessly over the crossbar.

In the 56th minute, Mahoney came inches from beating Horwitz with a shot from 25 yards out. The Amherst goalie back-pedaled just in time to push the shot over the crossbar at full extension. Two minutes later, Mahoney broke in from the weak side but was flattened by Horwitz going for the ball to prevent a shot.

Over the final 20 minutes, play grew increasingly physical as Keene pushed forward for a score. With just 10:43 to play, Keene State broke through for the equalizer. In transition, Bradford found the ball at her feet 40-yards out, turned on the Amherst goal, and unleashed a long shot that carried over Horwitz’s head and just under the crossbar.

In the 84th minute, Bradford was close to scoring again. Her left-footed bid from the left side of the Amherst goal box carried just wide of the far post. Seconds later, Mahoney took a ball down on her chest, and hit a volley that tested Horwitz. The save was the final one either goalie would be forced to make in regulation, as the game was sent into overtime tied 1-1 with daylight fading quickly.

Five minutes into the first overtime, first-year Sarah Duffy (Fairfield, CT) made a strong run through the Keene defense all the way to the touchline. After drawing Dempsey off her line, Duffy slotted a pass back for Nathan to run onto. Nathan’s one-touch shot was pushed over the crossbar by Dempsey as she recovered, giving the Jeffs a corner.

With just 3:31 to play in the second overtime, Keene State scored the sudden victory game-winner off a set piece. After a handball was called on Amherst, the Owls played a long ball on the Lord Jeffs' net. Horwitz made the initial save, but the rebound dropped down for Bradford to push over the line in the middle of a crowd. 

Each team had 19 shots in the game, with Horwitz making seven saves in the loss and Dempsey turning away 11 shots in the win for Keene.

Amherst will take on Wesleyan on Saturday at 12 p.m. in what should be a hostile environment as the Cardinals celebrate homecoming and their Hall of Fame weekend in Middletown, Conn.