Amherst Volleyball and Soccer Teams Vie for NESCAC Titles This Weekend

AMHERST, MA - With homecoming festivities in full swing this weekend on Amherst’s campus, a trio of fall teams will take to the road for NESCAC Championship Tournament play. Both the Amherst men’s and women’s soccer team picked up quarterfinal round wins last weekend, and will play semifinal matches on Saturday, while the Lord Jeff volleyball team tips off quarterfinal play Friday evening. Additionally this week, the Amherst College field hockey team was ranked No. 20 in the latest NFHCA poll. While they are eliminated from the NESCAC Championship, the Lord Jeffs are still hopeful of a berth into the NCAA Championship Tournament.

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Amherst carries a seven-game unbeaten streak into the 2008 NESCAC Men's Soccer Championship semifinal round.

The Amherst men’s soccer team (10-3-2, 5-3-1 NESCAC) emerged as the second seed from the pack of six teams vying for three home quarterfinal contests on the final day of the regular season. The Jeffs claimed the second spot in this year’s standings by posting a 2-1 come-from-behind overtime victory on the road over their semifinal opponent, Trinity.

While Amherst has been solid as of late, going 7-1-2 in its last 10 outings and outscoing opponents 25-6, the Jeffs will need to stay focused if they hope to capture the program’s first conference crown. Amherst appeared poised to do so a year ago, earning the number-one seed in the 2007 championship and reaching the final for the second time in three years only to come away empty-handed in a 1-0 loss to Middlebury. Once again, the Jeffs enter the semifinals with the firepower of the league’s top offense at their disposal, averaging an even 3.0 goals per game, and a defense that is second only to the Panthers with a goals against average of 0.87. Leading the attack for Amherst has been the combination of senior forward Jake Duker (Newton, Mass.) and freshman forward Jae Heo (ChangWon, South Korea). Duker is tied with Middlebury’s Macnee for the conference mark in goals (12) and points (26). Like Macnee, Heo has also impressed during his first campaign in the NESCAC, scoring 10 goals and two assists for 22 points, second behind Duker for the Jeffs. In net, another freshman has also shined for Amherst. Goalkeeper Lennard Kovacs (Wolfersdorf, Germany) is 7-2-2 with a .843 save percentage.

2008 NESCAC MEN’S SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP
~All games viewable via webcast on D3Cast~

Semifinals - Saturday, Nov. 8 at Middlebury
No. 4 Williams at No. 1 Middlebury - 11:00 a.m.
No. 3 Trinity vs. No. 2 Amherst - 1:30 p.m.

Championship - Sunday, Nov. 9 at Middlebury
Semifinal winners - 12:00 p.m.
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Amherst has not lost since its season opener on Sunday, Sept. 7.
Arguably the hottest team in the conference is the second-seeded Amherst women’s soccer team (10-1-3, 7-0-2 NESCAC). Since falling in the season opener at the College of New Jersey on Sept. 6, 5-1, the Jeffs have gone 10-0-3 and allowed more than one goal on just two occasions. Amherst reached this weekend’s semifinals for only the second time in the last five years thanks to a 1-0 victory over Wesleyan in the quarterfinals. With an offense that leads the league in scoring, averaging nearly three goals per game, the Jeffs hope to secure their third NESCAC title after claiming the conference championship in 2001 and 2003.

Junior midfielder Meg Murphy (Springfield, Mass.) has been at the forefront of a potent Amherst offense that features 15 different goal-scorers this season. The 2006 NESCAC Rookie of the Year is tied with Williams’ Woodson with a NESCAC-best 10 goals and is second among conference players in points with 24. Following Murphy on the Amherst stat sheet is sophomore forward Kyla Woodhouse (Topsham, Maine), as she has collected seven goals and five assists for 19 points. First year goalkeeper Allie Horwitz (Woodbridge, Conn.) has emerged as one of the top netminders in the conference. In 11 appearances this season, Horwitz is 6-0-2 with a league-leading 0.29 goals against average and .929 save percentage.

2008 NESCAC WOMEN’S SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP
~All games can be heard for a fee on TEAMLINE~

Semifinals - Saturday, Nov. 8 at Williams
No. 5 Bowdoin at No. 1 Williams - 11:00 a.m.
No. 3 Middlebury vs. No. 2 Amherst - 1:30 p.m.

Championship - Sunday, Nov. 9 at Williams
Semifinal winners - 12:00 p.m.
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Team 08
Amherst is looking to make a third consecutive appearance in the NESCAC Championship finals.
The third-seeded Amherst College volleyball team (20-7, 8-2 NESCAC) will take on a familiar foe in sixth-seeded Connecticut College (18-11, 6-4 NESCAC) during the quarterfinal round, as the two squads clashed last Friday at Wesleyan with the Jeffs coming away as 3-1 victors. Amherst’s performance so far in 2008 has been steady, having not dropped more than two matches in a row and going 7-3 over the final 10 contests. The Camels also finished strong down the stretch, posting an 8-2 record over their last 10 matches with the two setbacks coming to Amherst and Tufts.

Both of these teams have reached the conference semifinals in each of the last two years. The Jeffs have managed to take it a step further by winning the league title in 2006, followed by a 3-1 win over the Camels in last year’s semifinals and finishing as the runner up in 2007. Against the tournament field, Amherst is 8-4 and Connecticut College is 3-5.


2008 NESCAC VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

~All Amherst matches viewable via webcast on JumboCast~

Quarterfinals - Friday, Nov. 7 at Tufts
No. 8 Bates at No. 1 Tufts - 5:00 p.m.
No. 7 Bowdoin vs. No. 2 Wesleyan - 5:00 p.m.
No. 6 Connecticut College vs. No. 3 Amherst - 8:00 p.m.
No. 5 Middlebury vs. No. 4 Williams - 8:00 p.m.

Semifinals - Saturday, Nov. 8 at Tufts
Winner No. 1/No. 8 vs. Winner No. 4/No. 5 - 1:00 p.m.
Winner No. 2/No. 7 vs. Winner No. 3/No. 6 - 3:30 p.m.

Championship - Sunday, Nov. 9 at Tufts
Semifinal winners - 12:00 p.m.