Celebrating one decade of varsity play, the women's hockey team earned its fourth straight post-season berth and posted six conference wins on its way to an 8-12-5 season in 2004-05. The Jeffs shone late in the season with a three-game win streak, including victories over conference foes Wesleyan University and Trinity College . Given a second chance at Trinity after deadlocking in their season opener, the squad posted a 4-0 thrashing of the Bantams in their conference finale, led by sophomore defender Rachel Simon's hat trick and classmate netminder Lindsay Grabowski's stellar 21-save performance in goal. Finishing fifth in conference standings, the Jeffs fell at fourth-seeded Hamilton in the opening round of NESCAC tournament play.
The Jeffs lose only two seniors to graduation this year. Co-captain Sarah Mason and classmate Annie Grabowski combined to lead women's hockey to 30 victories in their four-year tenure at Amherst- including 13 in 2003-04, the winningest season in the program's history. Mason finished her career as a defender with 18 points on three goals and 15 helpers, while Grabowski, a NESCAC All-Academic selection her senior season, contributed four scores and seven assists. Mason and Grabowski's fantastic leadership and tremendous enthusiasm will be sorely missed this winter.
Amherst returns a young but maturing team in 2005-06. Two-time team MVP and senior tri-captain Renee Sisti returns after finishing with 22 points on 12 goals, good for seventh in the NESCAC, and 10 assists in the 2004-05 campaign. A 2003-04 All-NESCAC pick and the Jeffs' first all-conference player in program history, junior Pre-Season First Team All-USCHO Rachel Simon joins the offensive unit after leading Amherst in scoring last season and finishing sixth in the conference with 29 points on 12 goals and 17 assists. Sisti and Simon are backed by senior Leah Kaplan, junior tri-captain Meg Dickoff, classmates Alena Harrison and Kirsten Forsberg, and sophomores Elizabeth Ditmore, Natanya Khazzam and Christa Porcaro. Senior tri-captain Amanda Mattei and will pilot the defense with the help of offensive-minded junior defender Tes Siarnacki, who finished with 9 goals and 6 assists last year, and should continue to be a factor at both ends of the ice. Senior Bethany Croy, junior Emily Cronin, and sophomores Fairlee Frey, Katharine Kelly and Meg Quinn round out the defensive corps. Sophomore netminder Stacey Johnston returns to full health and looks to improve on her solid rookie campaign, after logging a .909 save percentage and 211 saves before a season-ending injury midway through the Jeffs' schedule. Junior Lindsay Grabowski also returns to share time in net after posting 425 saves last winter for a .876 save percentage.
Head Coach Jim Plumer touts the 2005-06 Jeffs as "the fastest Amherst team" ever to skate at Orr Rink, due in no small part to the talented group of freshman that joins the squad. Lindsey Harrington, Tarasai Karega, Anna MacLean and Blanca Myers join the offensive ranks while Julie Radziewicz bolsters the Amherst defense. All five players were highly decorated in their high school careers and bring extensive experience and leadership to the Jeffs, as each of them served as the captain of her respective high school squad. Plumer is counting on the first years, who he notes have "special potential," to help lead the young team.
Amherst opens the season with a trip to Maine, facing perennial national powerhouse Bowdoin College on November 18 at 7 p.m., and an improving Colby squad the next afternoon. Plumer sees these first semester conference games, finishing with matchups against Williams College, Middlebury College and Connecticut College, as opportunities for the Jeffs to measure themselves against high level competition early in the season and expects continued improvement from his talented and spirited squad. In addition to these NESCAC rivals, the Jeffs also fill their non-conference schedule with top competition, including matchups against No. 3 Plattsburgh, No. 4 Elmira, No. 8 St. Thomas, No. 11 Wisconsin-River Falls and No. 12 Utica.