Amherst Defeats Middlebury for First Time Since 2003
Kathleen Scheld '10 had one goal, five ground balls and four caused turnovers.
AMHERST, MA – The 20th-ranked Amherst College women’s lacrosse team held 11th-ranked Middlebury College to only one second-half goal Thursday evening at Gooding Field, as the Lord Jeffs earned an 8-5 victory to mark their first win over the Panthers since 2003.
Amherst improves to 7-3 (4-2 NESCAC) and moves into a four-way tie for second place in the NESCAC standings, while Middlebury falls to 5-5 (3-3 NESCAC) and is now tied with Williams College for sixth place in the conference.
Middlebury had won each of the past nine meetings and 16 of the past 17, with Amherst’s lone win during that stretch coming in the 2003 NCAA title game. The Jeffs had not defeated the Panthers in the regular season since an 11-10 result during the William Smith College Heron Draw Tournament in 2000.
Entering Thursday’s game with an 80-5 record in NESCAC play since the conference’s championship format began in 2001, Middlebury has dropped three conference games in a season for the first time ever. Tonight’s game marked the Panthers’ lowest goal total against Amherst in at least 15 years.
Wyatt Davis ’13 (Concord, MA), Marta Randall ’13 (Monkton, MD) and Lindsey Moran ’12 (Upper Montclair, NJ) each had two goals for Amherst. Lamia Harik ’12 (Rye Brook, NY) made 10 saves between the pipes to earn her seventh win, Meredith LaRose ’12 (Cranford, NJ) caused seven turnovers and picked up six ground balls, and Kathleen Scheld ’10 (Yorktown Heights, NY) added five ground balls and four caused turnovers.
For Middlebury, sophomore Stephanie Gill scored her team’s first two goals as the only Panther with multiple points on the day. Sophomore Lily Nguyen made nine saves for the visitors, as Amherst held a slim 21-18 advantage in shots. The Jeffs dominated the ground ball battle, 24-11.
The teams alternated goals in a back-and-forth first half, with Middlebury needing only 24 seconds to strike first. Gill gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead on an assist from Ellen Halle ’13, marking the fastest goal Middlebury has scored and the quickest Amherst has allowed this season.
Lindsey Moran '12 scored back-to-back goals in the first half to give Amherst a 4-3 lead.
Amherst tied things up just 1:04 later when Davis took a pass from Kelley Trapp ’11 (Monterey, CA) and beat Nguyen for the first-year’s 10th goal and the junior’s 30th point of 2010. Gill would hand the lead back to the visitors nearly four minutes later on an unassisted goal.
Sophomore Allie Horwitz (Woodbridge, CT) made it a 2-2 game 11:13 into the contest, but Middlebury once again regained the lead when first-year Michaela Colbert beat Harik unassisted with 10 minutes remaining in the opening half.
Moran would break the scoring pattern when she scored at the 20:42 and 24:25 marks to give the Lord Jeffs their first lead of the game. Moran’s second tally came immediately after Middlebury came up with a big stop on a free position shot.
The Panthers brought the score to 4-4 before halftime when Sally Ryan ’11 put home an unassisted goal after Middlebury forced a turnover and went the length of the field with less than three minutes to play. The visitors had a chance to take the lead with two minutes remaining in the half, but Harik came up with a key point-blank save.
Scheld gave Amherst a 5-4 advantage on a free position attempt 1:37 into the second half, and it would take nearly 20 minutes for the game’s next goal to come. Amherst controlled the tempo and maintained possession during the majority of the scoring drought, forcing Nguyen to come up with a pair of outstanding saves during the stretch.
Randall finally broke through to give Amherst a 6-4 lead with an unassisted score 21:31 into the half, but Middlebury junior Chase Delano brought her team’s deficit to one with an unassisted goal of her own two and a half minutes later. It took Davis only 45 seconds to hand momentum right back to Amherst, making it a 7-5 game with only 5:12 to play.
The Panthers could not find a solution for Harik and the stingy Amherst defense in the waning moments, and Randall added an insurance goal with 43.3 seconds remaining in regulation to seal the upset victory.
The Lord Jeffs will return to action Saturday, Apr. 17, when they travel to take on ninth-ranked Colby College at noon. The Panthers will head to fifth-ranked Trinity College Saturday for a 2 p.m. game. Amherst’s game against the Mules will feature live audio.