Amherst Advances to NESCAC Semifinals with 8-7 Win Over Wesleyan

The Lord Jeffs have advanced to the NESCAC Semifinals.

AMHERST, MA – The second-seeded Amherst College women’s lacrosse team defeated NESCAC and Little Three archrival Wesleyan University by a single goal for the second time this season, taking an 8-7 win this afternoon in the NESCAC Quarterfinals. The Lord Jeffs held an 8-3 lead over the No. 7 Cardinals with 13:42 to play in the second half, and held on for an 8-7 win at Gooding Field.

The Lord Jeffs advance to the conference semifinals next weekend, and will face No. 3 Trinity College on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The game will take place on the campus of top-seed Middlebury, who will play No. 5 Colby in the first semifinal at noon. The 2008 NESCAC Women’s Lacrosse Championship will feature the two winners from the semifinals on Sunday, May 4 at 12 p.m.

The Lord Jeffs started the game by scoring the first two goals of the game, which mirrored the start of the only regular season meeting between the two rivals. In that game, the season-opener for both teams, Amherst needed overtime to come away with a 9-8 win. Today, Wesleyan responded once again with a pair of goals to tie the game at 2-2 with 3:16 to play in the first half.

Amherst scored the fifth goal of the game with 15 seconds showing on the first half clock, giving the Lord Jeffs a lead which they would never give up. Amherst first-year Kelly Trapp (Monterey, CA) scored the go-ahead goal, her second of the day.

While the first half was somewhat of a defensive battle, Wesleyan managed to out-shoot the Lord Jeffs 13-8 in the frame. Amherst won all six of the first half draw controls and took the ground ball battle 13-11. The second half of the game gave way to a shootout that included some last minute excitement.

Amherst started the second half on fire, scoring three consecutive goals, and five of the first six in the frame to explode the margin out to 8-3. During the scoring spurt, Amherst received scores from Amy Craig (Denver, CO), Trapp, Christina Hopkins (Montclair, NJ), Kathleen Scheld (Yorktown Heights, NY) and Maddie Hoeg (Shoreham, NY). Hoeg picked up what ended as the eventual game-winner, and her first of the year, at the 13:42 mark.

From that moment on, Wesleyan responded with an impressive stretch of play which lasted just over eight minutes. The answer included four consecutive unassisted goals, starting with a tally from Charlotte Hastings (Hartland, VT). Cardinal teammates Sarah Orkin (West Hartford, CT), Erin McCarthy (Ridgefield, CT) and Maggie Lile (Wynnewood, PA) followed with solo efforts to cut the Amherst advantage to 8-7 with 5:20 to play in the second half.

Amherst won the ensuing draw control, and went into a stall pattern to run out the clock. The Lord Jeffs amazingly held control in the Cardinal third of the field without surrendering possession until just half a minute showed on the clock. The Cardinals cleared the ball, and got it into the stick of Jess Chukwu (Evanston, IL) who was fouled in the Amherst end of the field.

Chukwu was one of Wesleyan’s leading scorer’s this year, with 26 goals this season after a single goal earlier today. The Amherst defensive unit was able to come up big on the re-start and cause one last turnover, and throw the ball up-field to run out the clock.

Trapp ended the game with three goals and an assist to lead Amherst, while Lile and Hastings paced the Cardinals with a pair of goals apiece. Linda McEvoy (Rochester, NY) made 11 saves in net for the Lord Jeffs, as her counterpart Rachel Stemerman (Williamsville, NY) turned away 8 shots for the Cardinals.

With the result, Amherst improves to 13-2 on the season, while Wesleyan finishes the year 7-9 overall.