AMHERST, MA – The sixth-ranked and second-seeded Amherst College women's lacrosse used a trio of career performances and a 13-1 run over the last 34 minutes of play to hammer visiting seventh-seed Wesleyan University, 17-8, on Sunday afternoon. The Jeffs advance to the NESCAC Tournament Semifinals for the sixth consecutive year. They will face fourth-seeded Bowdoin College, which defeated No. 5-seed Tufts University 14-7 to advance, on Saturday at tournament host Middlebury College. The Polar Bears edged Amherst, 10-9, on their home field on April 1st, for the Jeffs' first loss of the season. Amherst improves to 12-2, while the Cardinals wrap up their season at 9-8.
Junior attacker Alyssa Briody (Hopewell, NJ) led the Amherst scoring onslaught on Sunday, with a career- high nine points on four goals and five assists, while rookie Amy Craig (Denver, CO) also breached a career-mark, notching six goals and adding a helper, and classmate midfielder Mary Noonan (W. Roxbury, MA) contributed a collegiate-best five scores of her own. Sophomore goaltender Linda McEvoy (Rochester, NY) allowed just one goal in the second half, while posting a game-high four ground balls and an interception.
Wesleyan burst out of the gates, netting the games' first two scores just 36 seconds apart and adding a third just over a minute later. Craig kept Amherst in it, however, tallying three goals in the first five minutes to keep it close. After Noonan added an unassisted score on a beautiful crease roll at 21:02, the Cardinals went on a four-goal run over the next 13 minutes to build a three-goal lead, 7-4. First-year Sarah Orkin (West Hartford, CT) notched a goal in the run and tallied all three of her scores in the first half. Wesleyan dominated the draw early, controlling eight of the first 11, including four grabs from senior captain Laura Siegle (Falmouth, ME).
Briody sparked the Amherst offense at 3:39 with a crucial tide-turning shot just under the pipe, and added another tally at 2:43, while the Jeff defense caught fire with spectacular marking from junior Maggie Roth (Berwyn, PA) and senior tri-captain Laura Brown (Bethesda, MD), who finished the game with three ground balls and a pair of caused turnovers. Amherst went into the break with a one-goal deficit, but riding huge momentum that carried into the second half. After Craig scored the equalizer just 39 seconds into the second, Noonan added back-to-back scores, including the eventual game-winner, converting a gorgeous cross-circle feed from senior tri-captain Scotty Hanley (Sparks, MD) into a backhanded rocket that easily beat Cardinal keeper senior Kate Jones (Duxbury, MA). Craig added her fifth score less than a minute later, using a sniper dish from Briody to notch a textbook quick-stick play and put the Jeffs up 10-7.
The Cardinals just couldn't hold on to the ball in the second half, as Amherst caused six turnovers in the first eight minutes, including a pair from senior midfielder Margaret Chute (Pawtucket, RI) and one from junior Liz Wise (Scarsdale, NY) who posted a game-high four takeaways. Briody padded the Jeff lead with back-to-back free-position scores at 14:36 and 12:03, and then dished one out to Noonan two minutes later. The Cardinals finally notched a score at 8:51 when senior attacker Becky Meredith (Cockeysville, MD) tallied an unassisted goal to halt a 10-0 Amherst run. The Jeff defense caused five more Wesleyan turnovers and allowed just one off-balance shot for the remainder of the game, while the attack added on three more goals, including a pair from junior midfielder Lauren Dudley (Baltimore, MD), to complete the second-half slaughter.
Orkin led the Cardinals with a trio of scores, while Meredith added a pair and first-year Laurel Sticklor
(Boxford, MA) tallied a goal and an assist. Siegle snagged six draw controls for Wesleyan, while Jeff
midfielders Craig and Lewis each three. McEvoy needed just four saves for the win, while Jones posted six stops.
NESCAC Postseason Tournament Seedings
Quarterfinals – Sunday, April 30 at higher seeds
No. 7 Wesleyan 8 at No. 2 Amherst 17
No. 6 Williams 17 at No. 3 Colby 11
No. 5 Tufts 7 at No. 4 Bowdoin 14
Semifinals – Saturday, May 6 at Middlebury College
No. 6 Williams at No. 1 Middlebury at 12:00 p.m.
No. 4 Bowdoin vs. No. 2 Amherst at 2:30 p.m.
Championship – Sunday, May 7 at 12:00 p.m.