AMHERST, Mass. – Junior Mary Grace Cronin recorded her first career hat trick as the No. 9 Amherst College field hockey team scored three times in each half to defeat conference rival Colby College, 6-2 Saturday afternoon at Gooding Field.
With the win, Amherst improves to 9-3 on the season and 5-3 in league play, while Colby falls to 5-7 overall (2-6 NESCAC). Amherst returns to action on Wednesday, Oct. 19 with a midweek non-conference tilt against Smith College beginning at 7 p.m. at Gooding Field, while the Mules travel to the University of Maine at Farmington for a 7 p.m. game on Oct. 19.
Dominating offensively in the first half, Amherst owned a 16-2 edge in shot differential, including a 13-2 advantage in shots on goal.
Tallying her fourth goal of the season, junior Mary Grace Cronin made it a 1-0 game 11:37 into the matchup. Gathering a pass from senior Sara Culhane in the center of the circle, Cronin sent a quick shot on net, beating the Mule netminder low left side.
Amherst threatened once again six minutes later as Shannon Tierney '19 drove a point blank shot from near the penalty stroke mark on goal, but Riley Whitmyer was up to the task and made an athletic kick save to turn away the attempt.
Utilizing their fourth penalty corner opportunity of the game, Elizabeth Turnbull '18 extended the Purple & White's lead to two following a pass from Culhane on the right side of the field. Collecting the pass at the top of the arc, Turnbull ripped a low hard shot into the bottom left corner of the goal.
Kat Restrepo held the Mule deficit at two with a strong defensive play with 4:41 remaining in the opening half, just getting her stick on the ball to thwart an attempt on a wide open net by Cronin. Keeping up their offensive attack, Amherst earned another solid opportunity just under a minute later, but Emily Buckman, who had entered in goal in relief, got her stick on the ball as she dove to her right to turn away the attempt.
Playing until the final whistle, Amherst made it a 3-0 contest with 4.7 seconds remaining in the half as Turnbull sent a perfect leading pass to Culhane at midfield. Racing down the right side of the field with time winding down, Culhane ripped a low shot from the top of the circle into the left corner of the goal.
Cronin scored her second goal of the game in the 38th minute to put the Purple & White up by four, corralling the ball in a scrum on the left side of the net and sending a shot over the goal line.
Finding the back of the goal once again just over seven minutes later, Cronin tallied her third goal of the game. Gathering a short pass from Culhane five yards out, Cronin beat Whitmyer to give Amherst a 5-0 lead with 31:48 to play.
Culhane tallied the Purple & White's final goal of the game at the 48:41 mark, with Katie Bergamesca '18 dishing a pass to Culhane on the right side of the goal and Culhane burying the opportunity to record her team-leading 16th goal of the season.
Colby gained momentum and battled back in the final 21 minutes of the contest, scoring two goals in a five-minute span. Notching the Mule's first goal of the game in the 49th minute, Anna Rudinski scored her third goal of the year as Becca Moore sent a pass down the left sideline. Gaining inside positioning on a defender, Rudinski drove a shot on goal and through the legs of first-year netminder Emilie Flamme.
McKayla Blanch set the score at 6-2 with 16:52 remaining, blasting a shot from the top right of the circle into the netting after making a run down the right sideline.
The Mules nearly struck once again at the 9:51 mark, as Rudinski earned a breakaway, however Emily Horwitz '17 was up to the challenge as she ran out to greet Rudinski and smothered the shot attempt.
- Horwitz (6-2) registered six saves in 62:23 in goal to earn the win, while Riley Whitmyer (0-2) made 11 saves in the loss in 61:42 in between the pipes for the Mules.
- Amherst edged the Colby in both shots and penalty corners, 25-10 and 10-4, respectively.
- Shannon Tierney '19 led all players with six shots in the matchup, while Cronin and Culhane each took four shot each.
- Kallie Hutchinson, Blanch and Danielle Smith led Colby with two shots apiece.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Today's game marked Senior Day for four Amherst College field hockey student-athletes: Mary Margaret Stoll, Sara Culhane, Sydney Watts, and Emily Horwitz
- As a class, this year's seniors have compiled an overall mark of 45-15 (.750 winning percentage) with a 26-11 record against NESCAC opponents and a 23-8 record at home. During that time, Amherst has outscored opponents 208 to 75 and has won three Little Three Titles, qualified for three-consecutive NESCAC Championship tournaments and advanced to the conference semifinals twice and the conference quarterfinals once.