Jeffs Draw Springfield in NCAA First Round
Contact: Ben Badua
AMHERST, Mass. - Earning its third-consecutive berth into the NCAA Championship (13th overall), the Amherst women’s soccer team will square off with Springfield College in opening round action on Saturday, Nov. 16. First and second round host Messiah College will face Lasell College in the day’s other match-up, with the winners meeting on Sunday, Nov. 11.
Women’s First Round (Saturday, Nov. 16)
11 a.m. - Messiah College vs. Lasell College
1:30 p.m. - Amherst College vs. Springfield College
Women’s Second Round (Sunday, Nov. 17)
1:30 p.m. - Winners of Saturday’s games
Live Stats and a webcast will be available for this weekend’s games courtesy of Messiah Sports Information.
Ticket prices will be $6 for adults, $3 for Senior Citizens and students with a valid ID, and $2 for children ages 3-12.
AMHERST COLLEGE (9-3-3, 5-2-3 NESCAC)
Receiving an at-large bid, the Jeffs are making their third-consecutive (13th overall) NCAA Championship appearance. Falling to Lasell in the first round of last year’s tournament, Amherst carries a 23-9-3 all-time mark in NCAA play into this weekend. Reaching the national semifinals in 1996, the Jeffs were one game away from a return trip to the Final Four in 2011 before falling to Messiah (3-1).
ROAD TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Getting off to a 2-1-2 start, Amherst rebounded with a stellar midseason stretch, notching six-consecutive victories while outscoring its opponents 19-3 during that span. Locked in a tight conference race, the Jeffs were 1-1-1 over the final three regular season games, falling to fellow NCAA participant Trinity (1-0) in the finale to settle for the No. 5 seed in the league tournament.
Returning to Hartford, Conn. just four days later, Amherst’s NESCAC Championship run came to an end with another one-goal loss to the Bantams (2-1) in the conference quarterfinals. Five of team’s games went to overtime this season, with the Purple & White posting a 1-1-3 record in those contests.
Ranked third in the conference in goals per game (2.0), Amherst has relied on a balanced attack that has seen 13 different players record a point and nine Jeffs score a goal. Enjoying a solid sophomore campaign, Megan Kim leads the team in points (19) and goals (9). Ranked third in the NESCAC in both categories, the forward has factored into the scoring in eight of the squad’s games this season.
Helping Kim share the offensive burden are seniors Sarah Duffy and Hannah Cooper. Posting two goals and an assist in her last three outings, Duffy sits second on the team in points with five goals and five assists, while Cooper has chipped in with five markers and three helpers.
Junior defenders Maya Jackson-Gibson and Ariana Twomey have helped anchor a stingy backline that has posted nine shutouts on the year, while holding opponents to one goal or less in all but two of the Jeffs’ 15 games. Putting together an impressive statistical season, sophomore goalkeeper Holly Burwick has logged the majority of the minutes in net, going 9-3-3 on the year. Recording six shutouts, she currently ranks second in the conference in goals allowed (6), save percentage (.917) and goals-against average (0.34).
SPRINGFIELD COLLEGE (13-4-4, 6-1-3 NEWMAC)
Sporting a 4-6 record in tournament play, Springfield will make its fourth-straight NCAA Championship appearance (7th overall). The Pride have gotten out of the first round just once in their last three trips, falling to Cortland (1-0) in 2012 and Ithaca (1-0) in 2010. Springfield fell to 2013 first round opponent Amherst (4-0) during the 2013 regular season.
ROAD TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Starting the season 7-4-1, Springfield carries a nine-game unbeaten streak into the NCAA Tournament. Defeating Worcester Polytechnic Institute (3-1) in the NEWMAC quarterfinals, the Pride edged out Wheaton (2-1) to advance to the league championship. Battling MIT to a 0-0 double overtime draw, Springfield captured its second-consecutive conference crown by virtue of a 4-3 decision in penalty kicks.
With 18 of 21 players recording a point this season, the Springfield offense has leaned on a balanced attack, while averaging 1.5 goals per game in 2013. Senior forward Nina Vital leads the team in scoring, having tallied 12 points on six goals.
Nicole Fowler ’16 and Ashley Carresi ’14 sit tied for second on the squad in points (9) with three goals and three assists apiece. Fowler was especially effective during the NEWMAC Tournament, registering a goal and two assists in three games, while Carresi notched a pair of scores.
Ranked second in the conference in team GAA (0.72) and third in goals allowed (16), Springfield boasts a solid defensive unit that has surrendered one goal or less in 18 of the squad’s 21 games, including each of the last 12 outings. Goalkeeper Lucy Gillett ’15 has recorded a .733 save percentage in 1370:22 minutes in net. Ranking third in the NEWMAC in goals allowed (12) and GAA (0.79), she enters tournament play with an 8-3-2 mark.
LASELL COLLEGE (17-3-1, 10-0-1 GNAC)
Lasell makes its fourth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, having posted a 1-3 record in its previous three trips. Last season, the Lasers notched their first-ever Championship victory with a 3-1 opening round decision over Amherst.
ROAD TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Getting off to a 3-2 start, Lasell has strung together an impressive run, carrying six-game win streak into the weekend, while having suffered just one loss in its last 16 games. Securing a 2-0 win over Johnson & Wales in the GNAC quarterfinals, the Lasers ousted Emmanuel (5-2) in the semis before taking down Suffolk (6-1) in the league championship. Winning their fourth-straight conference crown, Lasell has posted a program record 17 wins in 2013.
Led by two-time GNAC Player of the Year Bridget Lynch ’15, Lasell has scored a conference-best 3.7 goals per game this season. In the midst of a historic campaign, the junior is already the program’s all-time points and goals leader, having set a pair of school record with 33 goals and 73 points this year. Coming to life during the league playoffs, Lynch had five goals and an assist in three games, which included a hat-trick in the conference final.
Twin sister Kayla Lynch ’15 has also enjoyed a strong junior season, ranking second on the team in points (30) with 12 goals and six assists. First-year midfielder Devon Day has made an immediate impact, tallying eight goals and eight assists en route to second-team all-conference honors. Ranked second in the league in helpers, she recorded two goals and an assist in three GNAC Tournament contests.
Anchored by third-team all-league honorees Jamie Osterberg ’14 and Jill Greaney ’14, the Laser defense allowed just four goals in 11 regular season games. Giving up just 16 markers in 21 outings, Lasell sits second in the league in team GAA (0.75), having also recorded 10 shutouts. Goalkeeper Leah Pappalardo ’15 has been solid between the pipes, ranking second in the conference in GAA (0.83) and third in goals allowed (13), while logging 1415:49 minutes in net with four shutouts.
MESSIAH (18-2-1, 9-0-0 Commonwealth)
Perennial powerhouse Messiah will make its 14th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, having posted a 47-7-7 mark in its previous 13 trips. Reaching the Final Four on 10 occasions, the Falcons have won back-to-back national championships (5 overall) and will look to make it three-in-a-row this season.
ROAD TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Beginning the year with an uncharacteristic 2-2 mark, Messiah has righted the ship, going 16-0-1 over its last 17 games. Defeating Lebanon Valley (4-0) in the Commonwealth Conference semifinals, the Falcons upended Stevenson (1-0) in the championship game to capture their seventh-consecutive league final. Going undefeated against conference opponents during regular season for the 11th-straight year, Messiah extended its Commonwealth unbeaten streak to 94 games.
With six players netting at least 10 points, Messiah ranks third in the league in goals per game (2.67). Commonwealth Conference Offensive Player of the Year Nikki Elsaesser ’16 leads the way with 17 goals and 38 points. Second-team honoree Corinne Wulf ’14 has tallied six goals and five assists from her midfield position, while honorable mention all-conference picks Emily Schneider ’14 and Macaulay Soto ’16 have combined for 10 goals and 10 assists.
Anchoring the Falcons’ defensive efforts is Defensive Player of the Year Alicia Frey. Fellow defender Ali Rogers ’14 also earned a spot on the all-league first team, while Ashley Locke ’15 and Hannah Weyland ’15 round out the backline as second team and honorable mention selections, respectively. Together, Messiah has allowed just five goals this season, posting clean sheets in seven-straight games entering tournament play, while ranking third in the nation in team GAA (.236) and fourth in shutout percentage (.810).
A third-team all-conference honoree, Audra Larson '16 has logged all 1910:00 minutes in net, helping to record 17 shutouts. Posting a .808 save percentage, she sits third in the country in goals-against average (.236).