The 2002-03 Amherst women's ice hockey team earned its second consecutive trip to the NESCAC Championship Tournament, where - as the No. 7 seed - it faced second-seeded Middlebury College in the opening round. Middlebury, which entered the postseason with the conference's top scoring offense and defense and an unblemished record in NESCAC play, eliminated Amherst, but the season had its highlights nonetheless. Among the were the Jeffs' key conference victory over NESCAC and Little Three rival Wesleyan University, led by Leah Kaplan's game-winning goal. Tory Serues opened the scoring, finding the net on assists from Alison White and Annie Grabowski, but the visiting Cardinals evened the score with a power-play goal. Kaplan then lit the lamp with less than three minutes remaining off a Danielle Williams assist to give Amherst the lead for good. The Jeffs also posted their first-ever victory over Colby College - a win that secured their place in the postseason. Goalie Heidi Alexander shut out the visiting White Mules and collected 27 saves en route to victory. Bethany Croy scored the game-winner and Alison White added an insurance tally.
The Jeffs lose four-year starting goalie Heidi Alexander, and their top offensive force, Danielle Williams, to graduation. Alexander played 90 games during her tenure, logging over 5,358 minutes, 2,875 saves and an .889 career save percentage. Williams, the Jeffs' leading scorer during her sophomore and senior seasons, finished with career totals of 57 goals and 40 assists.
Senior co-captains Amanda Muller and Tory Serues provide a strong backbone for the Jeffs. "They've already given this year's group a head start with their attitude," says first-year head coach Jim Plumer. "Their preseason work ethic and excitement have spread throughout the team, generating a large amount of enthusiasm. They've been a huge help with my transition into the program." Muller leads a group of defenders that includes juniors Alicia Pichard, Sarah Mason and Lauren Caldwell, and sophomores Amanda Mattei and Bethany Croy. Serues leads a host of forwards, including senior Alison White - the Jeffs' active leading scorer with career totals of 23 goals and 26 assists. Seniors Katie Potter and Elissa Landes also hope to contribute at the forward spot, along with juniors Annie Grabowski and Ellie Roe, and sophomores Leah Kaplan, Jess Matthews and Renee Sisti. Junior goalkeeper K.C. Cosentino boasts a career save percentage of .938 and should contribute in net.
First-year head coach Jim Plumer leads the list of newcomers, joining Amherst after three years as an assistant at national powerhouse Bowdoin College, where he helped coach the Polar Bears to a 62-12-7 record, a pair of NCAA Final Four appearances, the 2002-03 regular season conference title and the 2001-02 NESCAC Tournament Championship. He says, "I plan to bring an aggressive, exciting style of play to Amherst women's hockey. I have a lot of enthusiasm about being here and seeing the program prosper." The Jeffs also bring in seven first-years, a class Plumer calls, "possibly the deepest and most talented Amherst has ever had." Plumer adds, "They come from very competitive club and high school teams, and we're very optimistic about the impact they'll make on the program."
New Coach, Seven Newcomers Bodes Well for Women's Hockey