AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College women's lacrosse team (13-3) marched past visiting Western New England College (WNEC) in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament on Wednesday, 19-3. The Jeffs advance to face Rowan University on Friday at 4 p.m. at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pa.
In the first ever meeting between the two schools, Amherst simply overwhelmed the visitors from the get-go. The Jeffs outshot WNEC 46-15 and the Golden Bears converted just 10-of-23 clears en route to 35 turnovers. Amherst won 15-of-24 draws and posted a 36-18 advantage in ground balls as well.
Amherst sprinted out to a 5-0 lead over the first 7:36 on the strength of first-year tandem Amy Craig (Denver, CO) and Mary Noonan (West Roxbury, MA), who scored two goals apiece in the spurt. WNEC got on the board with an unassisted tally from first-year Michelle Thompson (Wilbraham, MA) at the 21:30-mark, and junior teammate Jess Vogel (Tonawanda, NY) followed just five seconds later to cut the lead to 5-2. However, this would be their last score for a while as Amherst mounted seven straight scores to close the first half and head into the break with a 12-2 advantage.
The Amherst offense continued its onslaught in the second session, stretching the lead out to 17-2 with their 12th straight score. Senior tri-captain Caitie Parker (Bethesda, MD) capped the run just inside the 15-minute mark with her second score of the game. Vogel added one more for the Golden Bears, using a fast-break numbers advantage, but this would be all for WNEC and Amherst would add two more in the waning minutes to seal the rout.
Craig led all scorers with four goals, while junior Lauren Dudley (Baltimore, MD) added three goals and an assist, fellow junior Alyssa Briody (Hopewell, NJ) and senior tri-captain Scotty Hanley (Baltimore, MD) chipped in two goals and two assists apiece and junior Liz Wise (Scarsdale, NY) finished with a goal and a trio of helpers. Junior Dana Kuper (Denver, CO) had a goal and two assists, while both Parker and Noonan posted two goals. Sophomore Maddie Hoeg (Shoreham, NY) and junior Caroline Shannon (Hanover, N.H.) each found the net for Amherst and rookie Louise Stevenson (Dallas, TX) dished out her first collegiate postseason assist. Junior Emery Sweeney (Darien, CT) was a monster on the defensive end, forcing six turnovers and scooping up eight ground balls.
Vogel had two goals for WNEC, while Thompson had a score and sophomore Kaitlin Zangle (Wingdale, NY) added an assist. Senior Tara Cushman (Scituate, MA) started in goal for WNEC and had four saves before giving way to sophomore Melissa Roy (West Haven, CT), who finished with 13 saves. WNEC wrapped up its season at 13-6.
AMHERST IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: Eighth appearance / 15-6 all-time (8-0 home, 7-6 road)
• 1996 (Fell to Trenton State, 20-9, in first round)
• 1999 (Beat visiting Colorado College, 21-13, in first round… won at Bowdoin, 15-9, in national quarterfinals… beat the College of New Jersey, 11-8, in national semifinals… fell to Middlebury, 10-9, in national championship game)
• 2001 (First-round bye… beat visiting Wellesley, 20-10, in second round… beat visiting Ithaca, 13-6, in national quarterfinals… beat the College of New Jersey, 11-10 in overtime, in national semifinals… fell to Middlebury, 11-10 in overtime, in national championship game)
• 2002 (First-round bye… beat visiting Colorado College, 15-8, in second round… beat visiting Union, 13-6, in national quarterfinals… fell to the College of New Jersey, 10-7, in national semifinals)
• 2003 (First-round bye… beat SUNY Cortland, 20-9, at Gettysburg in second round… beat Regional host Gettysburg, 12-5, in national quarterfinals... beat the College of New Jersey, 12-10, in national semifinals... beat Middlebury, 11-9, in national championship game)
• 2004 (First-round bye… beat visiting Scranton, 20-4, in second round… beat visiting Plymouth St., 21-6, in national quarterfinals… fell to Middlebury, 13-9, in national semifinals)
• 2005 (First-round bye… fell to Washington & Lee, 11-9, in second round)
• 2006 (beat WNEC, 19-3, in first round… will face Rowan in second round…)