FROM A ST. JOHN FISHER COLLEGE RELEASE
May 18, 2003
PITTSFORD, NY - Liz Martin (Baltimore, MD) scored six goals, including four in the final 11 minutes of play, to lead Amherst College to its first-ever NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship, dethroning two-time defending champion Middlebury College 11-9 at St. John Fisher College's Growney Stadium on Sunday.
The Jeffs (18-2) won for the first time in three title appearances over the past five years, while Middlebury (16-1) was unsuccessful in its bid for a third straight national championship. The loss also snapped the Panthers' 51-game winning streak dating back to 2000 semifinals.
It was the third meeting this season between the two teams, after Middlebury's 16-5 win in the regular season and 9-5 victory in the New England Small College Athletic Conference tournament championship game.
"We see their zone so much, it's really challenging to attack it and Middlebury likes to play a fast-paced game," Amherst head coach Christine Paradise said. "I think each game we tried something different. In the first game, we tried to play at their pace. The second game we took a lot of time off with each possession and they started to play one-on-one pressure defense."
"Today we tried to push the ball upfield and take time off the clock," Paradis added. "At the same time, if something good was there a minute into our possession, we decided to take it. That gave our players the green light and Allison Aldrich stepped up and (Laura) Schifter and Abby (Ouimet) gave some great feeds to Martin."
Abby Ouimet (Hatfield, MA) assisted on Amherst's first two goals of the game to give the Jeffs the only lead they would enjoy until Martin gave them a 10-9 advantage with 3:18 left in regulation. Ouimet, who eclipsed the 100-point mark for the season with four points on the afternoon, closed out the victory with her 55th goal of the year with four seconds remaining.
While Martin and Ouimet were providing the offense, senior goalie Brooke Diamond (Longmeadow, MA) was tremendous in goal recording 12 saves. Diamond was selected Most Outstanding Player for the tournament, finishing with 25 saves and surrendering just 19 goals in the final two games.
"There aren't words to describe what Brooke has meant to this team, from an inspiration point of view and the fact that she plays every minute like it's the final minute of the Championship," said Paradis.
The Panthers put together a string of first-half goals from Meg Bonney (Norwich, VT), Char Glessner (Ipswich, MA), and two from Nuala O'Donohoe (Needham, MA) to go up 5-2 with 12 minutes left in the first half, but were held scoreless for the remainder of the period. Martin's second goal of the game closed the lead to 5-3 at the break.
The Jeffs turned the flow of the game around after the break, led by junior Allison Aldrich (Cornwall, VT). Aldrich cut the lead to one with an unassisted goal two minutes into the half, splitting the Middlebury defenders and bouncing a shot past Sarah Grenert (Sewickley, PA). After Middlebury freshman Elizabeth Renehan's (St. Davids, PA) goal made it 6-4, Aldrich found senior Erin Beaumont (Summit, N.J.) just outside the crease to pull Amherst to within one goal of the Panthers. Aldrich then tied the game at 6-6 with her third goal of the game on a feed from senior Laura Schifter (Washington, D.C.).
Middlebury didn't wait long to regain the upper hand, as senior Katie Simpson (Darien, CT) scored a goal and Bonney added another for an 8-6 lead.
Martin brought Amherst back with two goals in the next three minutes, however, tying the game at 8-8 with 8:21 to play. Hanley gave Middlebury a brief lead with 7:02 to play, but the Amherst defense held the Panthers scoreless in the final seven minutes.
Martin scored her final two goals on free position shots; the first at the 4:40 mark to tie the game at 9-9 after being fouled by Middlebury middie Caitlin McCormick (Plymouth, MA). Martin then registered her 66th and most important goal of the season with 3:18 to play after a foul by Middlebury freshman middie Alison Perencevich (Concord, NH).
NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse All-Tournament Team
Amanda Wynn (Sr. - Middie - William Smith)
Meghan Fitzgerald (Jr. - Defender - William Smith)
Carin Heller (Jr. - Attack/Middie - The College of New Jersey)
Katie Wagenblast (Jr. - Middie - The College of New Jersey)
Katie Simpson (Sr. - Attack - Middlebury)
Kate Perine (Sr. - Defender - Middlebury)
Char Glessner (Sr. - Attack - Middlebury)
Liz Martin (Jr. - Attack - Amherst)
Abby Ouimet (Sr. - Attack - Amherst)
Laura Schifter (Sr. - Attack - Amherst)
Annie Jamieson (Sr. - Defender - Amherst)
Most Outstanding Player
Brooke Diamond (Sr. - Goalie - Amherst)