Jeffs Handed 1-0 Loss by Williams to Fall Just Shy of NESCAC Title

Amherst moved to 8-7-2 on the season.

AMHERST, MA – Senior tri-captain Sara Wild’s goal in the 74th minute was all third-seeded Williams College needed to claim its fourth consecutive NESCAC Women’s Soccer Championship title, as the Ephs earned a 1-0 win over second-seeded Amherst College Sunday afternoon at Hitchcock Field. Williams advances to the NCAA Tournament with the conference’s automatic bid, while the Lord Jeffs will hope for an at-large selection.

Amherst (8-7-2, 5-2-2 NESCAC) held a 12-10 advantage in shots and a 5-1 edge in corner kicks during what was a phenomenal championship game between the two archrivals, but the Ephs (12-3-2, 5-2-2) were able to avenge the 1-0 loss they suffered to the Jeffs on Oct. 2 in Williamstown. Williams now owns five conference titles in women’s soccer, more than any other NESCAC school.

Sunday marked the fifth time these teams had met in the conference tournament and the third time they had squared off in the finals. Amherst won the 2001 title with a 2-1 win over Williams in double overtime, while the Ephs claimed the 2008 crown with a 3-2 victory against the Jeffs in overtime. The all-time series, which dates back to 1978, is now tied at 15-15-7.

It seemed as though Amherst and Williams would need overtime to decide a conference champion once again, but the Ephs finally broke through when they put together an impressive offensive sequence to break the tie. Annelise Snyder ’11 passed the ball ahead to first-year Hayley Cook, who immediately found Wild in the box on the right side. Wild took the pass, beat a defender and placed a beautiful shot to the far post, just getting her attempt past the outstretched arms of Amherst goalie Allie Horwitz ’12 (Woodbridge, CT) with 16:37 showing on the clock. Wild also netted the game winner in Saturday’s semifinal win over Middlebury.

Williams held a 4-3 advantage in shots after the first 45 minutes, but Amherst had the two best scoring opportunities of the half. The first came when Sarah Duffy ’14 (Fairfield, CT) played a cross from the right wing to Hannah Cooper ’13 (Bethesda, MD), who made a great run only to have her one-time attempt sail high of the goal. The second came with only 3:30 remaining in the period when Allison Dorey ’12 (San Francisco, CA) delivered a corner to Jill Kochanek ’12 (Pittsburgh, PA), whose header was saved by a diving effort from Eph goalie Laura Wann ’13.

Both teams looked much sharper in what was a thrilling second half. Amherst made the first significant push of the period, but Williams nearly scored twice within a span of three minutes. Wild sent a cross from the left wing and the ball got behind Horwitz, but Emily Little ’13 was there to clear it out of harm’s way on a heads-up play. Minutes later Eph forward Brett Eisenhart ’12 received a cross in the box and put a shot on target. The ball hit Horwitz’s hands and bounced off the crossbar, but the Amherst keeper quickly recovered and came up with the save.

Williams caught a break with 28 minutes to play when the Jeffs could not take advantage of an empty net. After Amherst played the ball into the box, Cooper was put into a footrace with substitute goalie Julia Schreiber ’11. Cooper got there first, turned and had an open net to shoot at, but she was at a very tough angle and her attempt missed wide left. Williams quickly countered and it looked as though Snyder had a clear path to the goal after a long ball was played ahead to her, but Amherst defender Sandy Shepherd ’13 (Coronado, CA) came out of nowhere to make a great tackle and end the threat.

After Wild gave the Ephs their 1-0 lead, Amherst came back with a pair of corner kicks but could not put anything on net. The Jeffs came just inches shy of tying the game with 6:30 to play when Maureen Griffin ’11 (Morgan Hill, CA) attempted a bicycle kick in the box after a Jackie Hirsch ’11 (Wilmette, IL) free kick from the endline, as Griffin’s shot beat the keeper but just barely made its way over the crossbar.

Amherst made one final push when a Jess Wall ’12 (Glencoe, IL) shot from 25 yards out missed wide, as the Ephs held on to successfully defend their title once again. Horwitz made five saves to move to 7-6-1 for Amherst. Wann and Schreiber each played 45 minutes to share the shutout, with Wann stopping two shots in the first half and Schreiber making one save in the second. With the win, Schreiber improves to 7-3-1.


2010 NESCAC Women’s Soccer Championship
Quarterfinals – Sunday, Oct. 31
No. 1 Tufts ties No. 8 Bates, 0-0 (2OT)
(Bates advances on penalty kicks, 3-2)
No. 2 Amherst def. No. 7 Bowdoin, 3-2
No. 3 Williams def. No. 6 Wesleyan, 4-1
No. 5 Middlebury def. No. 4 Trinity, 2-0

Semifinals – Saturday, Nov. 6 (at Amherst)
No. 2 Amherst def. No. 8 Bates, 4-1
No. 3 Williams def. No. 5 Middlebury, 2-0

Championship – Sunday, Nov. 7 (at Amherst)
No. 3 Williams def. No. 2 Amherst, 1-0