Lord Jeffs Dream Season Comes to an End with 16-9 Loss at Franklin & Marshall

Amherst's amazing season came to an end today.

LANCASTER, PA – The 11th-ranked Amherst College women’s lacrosse team took on the third-ranked Diplomats of Franklin & Marshall this afternoon, at the North Campus Athletic Field in Lancaster, PA in the Regional Finals of the 2008 NCAA Tournament. The Lord Jeffs went step-for-step with the Diplomats for over most of the game, but were unable to come away with a win this afternoon, falling 16-9.

Amherst punched its ticket for today’s regional final with a 10-8 win over Washington & Lee yesterday, while the defending national champion Diplomats routed Babson College 15-4. Amherst looked to get back to the final weekend of tournament play for the first time since the program’s 2003 national championship, while F&M entered today looking to continue its repeat bid.

Amherst opened the game with a goal just 1:29 into the first half, as senior captain Maddie Hoeg (Shoreham, NY) put in an unassisted goal after a drive from the left wing. F&M responded less than a minute later on a quick goal from Jen Pritchard, after taking the feed from Shannon Summers.

The Diplomats took a 2-1 lead on virtually the same play from their first goal of the game, as Blake Hargest put home her first goal of the game. Summers put in her first score of the day at the 23:35 mark, stretching the F&M lead to 3-1.

At the 21:49 mark, senior captain Amy Craig (Denver, CO) put home a free position goal, by ripping a shot past the F&M goalie’s feet. Hoeg followed suit at the 19:08 mark with a free position score of her own to the top right corner, tying the game at 3-3.

F&M took the lead back with 17:13 to go in the first half, as Summers found Hargest alone on the Amherst crease. Hargest turned and bounced a shot underneath Amherst senior goalie Linda McEvoy (Rochester, NY).

Amherst sophomore Tyler Tory-Murphy (Sea Cliff, NY) scooped up a loose ball near midfield and took it in for an unassisted goal at the 14:53 mark of the frame, knotted the score up once again at 4-4.

The Diplomats took a 5-4 lead with 11:15 to go in the first half as Sarah Meisenberg beat McEvoy on another free position shot. McEvoy made a pair of amazing saves, including a diving stop, before the F&M’s Summers put home a Hargest feed to open up a 6-4 advantage.

Amherst second year player Kathleen Scheld (Yorktown Heights, NY) put in a free position tally to cut the deficit in half with just over six minutes to play before the break. With 4:56 to play, the Diplomats stretched the lead back to 7-5 on a free position goal by Meisenberg. Ninety seconds before halftime, F&M took its largest lead of the game at that point, when Pritchard put in another free position goal.

After a huge defensive stand over the last minute of the half, Hoeg took a ball on Amherst’s side of the field and wove her way through the Diplomat defense. With 1.2 seconds remaining, Hoeg put home her third goal of the game to leave Amherst down 8-6 at the break.

Just under two minutes into the second half, F&M scored a breakaway goal, as Devi Hensch went in alone on McEvoy. Shortly after, the Diplomats opened up a 10-6 lead on a diving score by Summers. On the goal, Amherst’s Scheld picked up her second yellow card of the game, and was sent to the bench for the day.

Franklin & Marshall scored a third consecutive goal in the first five minutes of the second half, stretching the lead up to 11-6 with 25:27 to play. Amherst was doubled-up at 12-6 with just under 22 minutes to play, as the defending champions looked unstoppable at times. It was just another 11 seconds before the lead grew to 13-6.

Amherst responded with its first goal of the second half at the 21:15 mark when senior Mary Noonan (West Roxbury, MA) finished off an assist from Hannah Walker (Greenwich, CT).

Craig added a free position score with 12:58 to play, cutting the deficit to 14-8. After a pair of F&M scores, Walker added a goal at 5:37 to close the gap to 16-9. The Lord Jeffs never quit on the game, but were unable to put together a significant scoring streak and cut into the Diplomat lead.

The final score came in at 16-9 in Franklin & Marshall’s favor, ending Amherst’s amazing season at 15-4. Leading Amherst once again was Hoeg, who scored three goals against the defending champions. McEvoy finished with five saves in her final game for Amherst, while F&M was paced by Pritchard with five goals in the win.

Seniors captains Hoeg, McEvoy, and Gretchen DeLuke (Lewiston, NY) played their final game for Amherst this afternoon, leaving the program in the hands of a capable and promising group of underclassmen. Their contributions to the program, along with classmate Kristina Green (London, England), can be seen both on, and off the field, as they will be sorely missed after their upcoming graduation.