Amherst Women's Lacrosse Earns NCAA Bid 11-2 mark best in team history

AMHERST, Massachusetts --Finishing the regular season with the best single-season record in team history, the Amherst College women's lacrosse team received a bid to compete in the NCAA Division III Tournament. At 11-2, the Jeffs will play host to the Colorado College Tigers (12-5-1) in the first-round at Amherst College on Wednesday afternoon at 4:00 p.m.
The winner of the Amherst-Colorado College will advance to the quarterfinal round at Bowdoin College on Sunday. Bowdoin is one of four teams in the NCAA field of 12 to receive a first-round bye. Also receiving byes were The College of New Jersey which will host the winner of Wednesday's game between Rowan University and Union College; William Smith College, takes on the survivor between St. Mary's College of Maryland and Ursinus College; and Middlebury College, which is bracketed with Salisbury State and Cortland State.
The Tigers, coached by Susan Stuart, are the lone team out of the West Region in this year's 12-team field, and enter this afternoon's game with a 12-5-1 record, including a 6-5 mark against varsity intercollegiate teams. In only their fifth year as a varsity program, the Tigers are making their first-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament.
Senior attacker Mary Everett (Whittier, CA), the program's all-time leading scorer, leads the Colorado offense, having tallied 29 goals and 18 assists against varsity competition so far this year. Supporting her are a trio of juniors, including Sarah Blair (Montpelier, VT), with 29 goals and nine assists, Kelli Kessler (Cedar Grove, NJ), with 19 goals and 10 assists and Emily Roberts (Bainbridge Island, WA), with 13 goals and 12 assists.
The Tigers enter this afternoon's game on a hot streak, having recorded four consecutive victories, including a 14-10 win over Denison University, the only opponent common to Colorado and Amherst, on April 15.
Amherst, coached by Chris Paradis, enter today's game as the third team out of the powerful New England Region, behind second-seeded Middlebury College (14-0) and fourth-seeded Bowdoin College (13-1). The 11-2 Jeffs, the two-time defending ECAC Champions, used a dramatic 11-10 victory last Saturday at arch-rival Williams College to seal their first bid to the NCAA tournament since 1996.
Up front, Amherst is led by one of Division III's most balanced offensive attacks, including five different playes with 25 or more goals. Sophomore Kristin Osborn (Morristown, NJ) has set the pace for the Jeffs, averaging just under three goals per game throughout her second season. Fellow sophomore Sarah Scheessele (Pittsburgh, PA) has also been an offensive threat all season for the Jeffs, including (24) goals and (8) assists, highlighted by a career-high five goals (including the game-winner) at Williams last Saturday. Along with the pair of sophomores, a trio of veterans, senior Eliza Meade (Newton, MA) and juniors Katherine Poulin (St. David's, PA) and Alie Stechenberg (Longmeadow, MA) have relentless to opposing defenses. Senior Tri-captain Jen Corso (Collingswood,NJ) rounds out the six Amherst strikers who have tallied at least four goals in a game this year, as Amherst brings the seventh-best scoring offense in the country (15.2 goals per game) into today's game.
Sophomore goalie Jess Thaxton (Wayland, MA) and senior Tri-captains Aimee Carroll (Madison, CT) and Irene Permut (Wilmington, DE) anchor a solid defense which has been stingy throughout the Jeffs' current seven-game winning streak, allowing only 52 goals during that span (7.4 goals per game), including four games in which they allowed only 18 goals combined.
The winner of this afternoon's game advances to Sunday morning's National Quarterfinal at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. The Tigers have never played Bowdoin, while Amherst's last meeting with their NESCAC foes came in last year's ECAC Championship game, where the Jeffs prevailed 9-8 in an overtime thriller.
Three of the 12 teams in this year's NCAA tournament field come from the 11-school NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference), while four more (Connecticut College, Trinity College, Tufts University and Williams College) have been in the Brine/IWLCA Top 20 poll at some point this season. This is the first meeting in the history of these two program
May 5 at Glassboro, New Jersey
Union (N.Y.) (14-4) at Rowan (12-3)
May 5 at Amherst, Massachusetts
Colorado College (6-5) at Amherst (11-2)
May 5 at St. Mary's City, Maryland
Ursinus (Pa.) (10-5) at St. Mary's (15-3)
May 5 at Salisbury, Maryland
Cortland State (N.Y.) (14-4) at Salisbury State (11-3)
May 9 at Ewing, New Jersey
Winner of Rowan (12-3) and Union (N.Y.) (14-4) vs. College of New Jersey (13-0)
May 9 at Brunswick, Maine
Winner of Amherst (11-2) and Colorado College (6-5) vs. Bowdoin (13-1)
May 9 at Geneva, New York
Winner of St. Mary's (15-3) and Ursinus (Pa.) (10-5) vs. William Smith (14-1)
May 9 at Middlebury, Vermont
Winner of Salisbury State (11-3) and Cortland State (N.Y.) (14-4) vs. Middlebury (14-0)