No. 2 Jeffs Cruise Past No. 4 Williams, 9-6, and into NESCAC Championship Game

May 5, 2001

MIDDLEBURY, Vermont - One week to the day after posting a career-high 11 saves in a double-overtime regular-season win at arch-rival Williams College, sophomore Amherst College women's lacrosse goalie Brooke Diamond (Longmeadow, MA) stopped 12 Williams shots, including 10 in the second half, to knock the Ephs out of the NESCAC Tournament with a 9-6 victory. With the win, the Jeffs improve to 14-1, advance to tomorrow's NESCAC Championship at top-ranked Middlebury College, and likely clinch a spot in the 2001 NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Tournament, eliminating the Ephs from contention in the process. 

The Ephs, ranked fourth in the nation and seeded third in the seven-team draw, got on the board first on a goal from senior Kristen Sullivan (Woodstock, VT), before the second-seeded Jeffs, ranked second in the nation, responded with two goals in 31 seconds, including tallies from sophomores Erin Beaumont (Summit, NJ) and Molly O'Connor (Baltimore, MD). Senior Sarah Scheessele (Pittsburgh, PA), who scored the game-winning goal 64 seconds into the second overtime in the Jeffs' 8-7 win at Williams on April 28, scored at 15:10 off a feed from sophomore Abby Ouimet (Hatfield, MA) for a 3-1 Amherst lead, but the Ephs retaliated on the ensuing draw, with Sullivan adding her second goal of the game just 21 seconds later. 

The Jeffs, who had the better part of play for much of the opening half, stormed back with two goals of their own, with senior co-captain Kristin Osborn (Morristown, NJ) scoring on a Ouimet feed at 9:36, and Ouimet finishing a perfect touch-pass from Beaumont at 6:41 for a 5-2 Amherst edge.

Williams, however, in their only extended offensive surge of the first half, controlled the next few minutes of play, closing to within two on a goal from first-year Victoria Scott (Cambridge, MA). The Ephs won the ensuing draw, and had a chance to cut the Amherst lead to 5-4, but Diamond, making her first start of the season, came up with one of her two first-half saves, giving the Jeffs the ball back with just under two minutes before halftime. 

The Jeffs did not squander the opportunity, with Osborn finishing another perfect feed from Ouimet with 48.4 seconds left to take a 6-3 lead. Off the ensuing draw, the Jeffs regained possession, and Scheessele came through with one of the bigger goals of the game, blasting a shot past sophomore Williams goalie Abi Jackson (Jamaica Plain, MA) with just 6.1 seconds left before intermission for a 7-3 Amherst lead. 

In the second half, the Jeffs played the clock, controlling possession for minutes at a time. Ouimet, who played a part in five of the Jeffs' seven first-half goals, put the Jeffs up 8-3 at 25:02 after a nifty one-on-one move, before the Ephs answered with a goal from Scott 90 seconds later to cut the Jeff lead back to four. From there, however, Amherst's defense-and Diamond-took over. With the Jeffs in a possession-oriented set offensively, Williams attempted to get back into the game in transition, but Diamond turned away shot after shot, giving the ball back to the Jeffs' offense, which built the lead to 9-4 at the 14:39-mark on a goal from sophomore Mary Kate Allen (Springfield, MA). 

The score stayed that way up until the game's waning moments, with Diamond posting eight consecutive saves between Williams' fourth and fifth goals. The Ephs finally got on the scoreboard with 1:07 left on a goal in transition from first-year Molly Jennings (Greenwich, CT), but it was too little, too late, as the Ephs could not overcome a scoring drought that lasted 22:24. Williams added one more goal, Sullivan's third of the game, inside the final minute, but a late save from Diamond, her career-high 12th of the game, kept the Ephs from coming any closer, and the Jeffs held on for the 9-6 victory that was probably not as close a game as the final score indicated. 

For the Jeffs, Ouimet paced the offensive attack with two goals and four assists, her third-consecutive game with four or more helpers, and Osborn added a pair of goals and a pair of helpers, moving her past Greta Green '96 as the school's career assist leader with 74. Scheessele added a pair of goals, Beaumont added a goal and two assists, and Allen and O'Connor scored once each for Amherst (14-1), who matched a school record with its 14th win of the season. 

Amherst's offensive effort, however, could not overshadow another tremendous game from Diamond, making only her second career start. The sophomore, who was named Inside Lacrosse Division III Player of the Week after posting 11 saves in the win over Williams last Saturday, played all 60 minutes en route to the victory, finishing with 12 stops and only six goals allowed to raise her save percentage for the season to 64.0 percent. 

For the Ephs (10-3), Sullivan's three goals were a team-best, while Scott scored twice and Jackson posted eight saves against nine goals allowed. 

With the win, the Jeffs set up a rematch of their only loss of the season, an 18-11 defeat at Middlebury on April 7. The Panthers defeated fourth-seeded Colby College 16-8 in Saturday's first semifinal, and bring a perfect 12-0 record into Sunday's inaugural conference championship. With the Panthers and Jeffs ranked first and second in the country, it is all-but guaranteed that the loser of Sunday's NESCAC title game will still receive the lone at-large bid to the 16-team NCAA Tournament field, while the winner will receive the NESCAC's automatic bid to the Big Dance. Colby and Williams will both now turn their attention towards the ECAC Tournament, with bids announced Monday afternoon. 

Sunday's NESCAC title game is a 12:00 p.m. start on Middlebury's Kohn Artificial Field, with the NCAA Division III women's lacrosse selection show coming later on Sunday, at 9:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.

Saturday, May 5, 2001     1     2   --   F
#3 Williams College (10-3)   3     3   --   6
#2 Amherst College (14-1)   7     2   --   9

AC - Osborn 2, Ouimet 2, Scheessele 2, Allen, Beaumont, O'Connor; 
WC - Sullivan 3, Scott 2, Jennings; 

AC - Ouimet 4, Beaumont 2, Osborn 2; 
WC - Doherty 2, Kovacs, Leonard;

AC - Brooke Diamond, 12 saves (6 ga, 60:00); 
WC - Abi Jackson, 8 saves (9 ga, 60:00); 

Shots: AC 21, WC 23;
Ground Balls: AC 19, WC 11; 
Turnovers: AC 23, WC 18;
Draw Controls: AC 12, WC 3; 
Fouls: AC 15, WC 13;