Posted: May 19, 2001
Jeffs to Take on Top-Ranked Middlebury for Div. III Title Sunday at Noon
May 19, 2001
BALTIMORE, MD - Sophomore attack Abby Ouimet (Hatfield, MA) scored the game-tying goal with 12 seconds left in regulation and senior Sarah Scheessele (Pittsburgh, PA) added the game-winner 1:56 into the first overtime as the Amherst College women's lacrosse team rallied from a 10-7 second-half deficit to knock off the defending national champion College of New Jersey, 11-10, in Saturday's NCAA Division III Semifinals at Johns Hopkins University.
Amherst, which improves to 17-2 on the season, advances to Sunday's NCAA Championship game where it will face top-ranked Middlebury College, 14-4 victors over Mary Washington College in Saturday's other national semifinal. TCNJ finishes its season at 12-2, with both losses coming to the Jeffs.
Ouimet got the afternoon started, taking the opening draw and storming downfield to score the game's first goal just 10 seconds into play. The 1-0 advantage, however, would be short-lived as TCNJ strung together back to back goals by Liz O'Connor and Carin Heller to take a 2-1 lead 5:00 into the game. From there the two teams traded goals until TCNJ rolled off three straight to take a 6-4 lead at the half.
After the break, TCNJ scored twice in a 20-second span to take an 8-4 lead just 1:29 into the second half. Amherst responded with consecutive scores by Ouimet to close to within two, 8-6, at the 26:25 mark. From there the Lions controlled possession for most of the next seven minutes, culminating with a goal from Tara Prindible with 19:47 remaining.
Scheessele responded at 12:34 to cut the lead to 9-7 before Heller netted her second goal of the game at the 9:58 mark for a 10-7 TCNJ lead. Amherst head coach Chris Paradis used her only time out of the second half after the Heller goal and the break helped the Jeffs, who closed to within two on a free-position goal from senior co-caption Kristin Osborn (Morristown, NJ) with 7:23 remaining.
Amherst sophomore Mary Kate Allen (Springfield, MA) scored in transition off a feed from first year Allison Aldrich to close the Jeffs to within one with 5:51 remaining before the Lions used their timeout to stop the run.
After the TCNJ timeout, the Lions controlled the ball inside the three-minute mark and had several chances to widen their lead but were turned away time and again by sophomore Amherst goalkeeper Brooke Diamond (Longmeadow, MA). Diamond, who made eight saves in the first half, posted three saves in quick succession to help get the ball back to Amherst with 2:00 left.
Ouimet nearly tied the game 23 seconds later but senior TCNJ goalkeeper Tiffany Trockenbrod stopped her shot from the point. The Lions got the ball back after Ouimet's shot and attempted to kill the clock but Aldrich picked up a ground ball off a Lion turnover with 22 seconds left and drew a whistle from the referee. On the ensuing re-start, Aldrich broke down the sideline and passed the ball to Ouimet at the top of the 12-meter. Ouimet made a quick feint, turned inside towards the TCNJ goal and squeezed a shot between Trockenbrod's right leg and the left post with 12 seconds left, sending the game into overtime where Diamond once again was brilliant.
The sophomore recorded four of here career-high 19 saves in the six-minute extra-session and Scheessele's goal 1:04 into the first half of the first overtime stood up as the Jeffs hung on for the win.
With its school record 17th win of the season, Amherst advances to Sunday's national championship game against top-ranked Middlebury College. Sunday's championship will be the two teams' third meeting this season with Middlebury taking each of the first two.
For Amherst, Ouimet's five goals led the way, while Osborn and Aldrich each finished with three points. Osborn now has 16 points on 10 goals and six assists in three NCAA Tournament games this year.
But the star of the afternoon was Diamond, who finished with a career-high 19 saves to help Amherst defeat TCNJ for the second time this season. Prindible, who finished with three goals in the loss, led the Lions. TCNJ is now 58-3 since 1997 with all three losses coming to Amherst.
Amherst, who defeated TCNJ 11-8 in its first Final Four appearance in 1999, draws a rematch with Middlebury, which took the 1999 Championship with a 10-9 victory over the Jeffs.