AMHERST, MA – The eighth-ranked Amherst women's lacrosse team secured the Little Three title outright on Saturday afternoon with a convincing 12-6 win over archrival No. 10 Williams College. With the win, Amherst improves to 7-1 (4-1 NESCAC) while the Ephs fall to 6-3 (2-3 NESCAC). The Amherst women defeated Wesleyan University, 6-3, last weekend.
The Amherst defense, ranked seventh in the country in goals against average (5.83), was stellar throughout, limiting Williams to a season-low 19 shots. Junior Emery Sweeney (Darien, CT) led the defensive storm, collecting a career-high six ground balls, while classmate Maggie Roth (Berwyn, PA) forced a pair of turnovers. Sophomore Linda McEvoy (Rochester, NY) had perhaps her best career outing, grabbing two interceptions and a pair of ground balls, and turning away 10 Eph shots.
Sophomore Maddie Hoeg (Shoreham, NY) scored within the first minute of each half, converting a feed from rookie Mary Noonan (W. Roxbury, MA) just 48 seconds into play, and then snatching the opening draw of the second stanza and putting away the second of her pair at 29:43. Williams' leading scorer Rachel Barr (Hanover, NH) matched Hoeg's first goal on an assist from junior midfielder Kaylan Tildsley (Andover, MA) at 28:31, but the Amherst defense would keep the Ephs scoreless for the next 22 minutes. Four different Jeffs scored in the interim, as Noonan, senior Scotty Hanley (Sparks, MD), junior Dana Kuper (Denver, CO), and rookie Amy Craig (Denver, CO) each notched goals. Senior midfielder Margaret Chute (Pawtucket, RI) came up with a huge defensive stop, blocking a bullet from Barr at the 10-minute mark. Williams' scoring drought finally came to an end when Barr netted the second of her four goals on an open net after a controversial call. Junior Alyssa Briody (Hopewell, NJ) had two goals called back on equally contentious umpire decisions, but got one in with less than a minute remaining in the half to give Amherst a 7-2 lead.
Amherst controlled the midfield from start to finish, getting great games from Sweeney, Chute and junior Rachel Lewis (Denver, CO), and winning the draw control (13-7) and ground ball (23-13) battles, while committing just 23 fouls to Williams' 37.
After Hoeg, senior Caitie Parker (Bethesda, MD) and junior Lauren Dudley (Baltimore, MD) extended Amherst's advantage to 10-2 early in the second half, Williams went on a 4-0 run of their own, spanning 23 minutes. Barr notched two goals, while juniors Elizabeth Pierce (Wilmington, DE) and Emily Gladden (Princeton, NJ) added single scores. The gap was too wide to bridge, however, and Kuper and Craig added insurance goals in the final minute to give Amherst the decisive victory.
Kuper finished with two goals and an assist, while Hoeg and Craig netted two goals a piece to go along with four and two draw controls, respectively. Noonan had a goal and a pair of assists. Williams' first-year defender Elizabeth Burns (Dover, DE) forced four turnovers, while senior goalie Meghan Dwyer (Norwell, MA) posted 12 saves.