AMHERST, Mass. – Down by five with 24:15 remaining, the Mammoths closed out the battle with a statement 7-1 run to hand the Jumbos their first conference loss, as the fourth-ranked Amherst College women's lacrosse team rallied past No. 6 Tufts University, 14-13 Saturday afternoon at Pratt Field at Lehrman Stadium on Senior Day.
With the win, Amherst climbs to 11-1 on the season and to 7-1 in league action, while Tufts falls to 10-2 overall (6-1 NESCAC). Amherst returns to the field on Wednesday, April 18 when they kick off a three game road trip to close out the regular season with a 6 p.m. non-conference tilt at Babson.
Amassing a quick four goal lead, the Mammoths came out ready to play in the clash of top-10 teams.
Faking out a defender behind the net and sending a shot from the left side over the goal line, Mary Grace Cronin '18 struck 1:09 into the matchup to get Amherst on the board.
Doubling up the home team's edge just over a minute later with an unassisted effort, Hannah Fox '20 found nylon before dishing a pass to Katherine Malone '20 for the score at the 27:06 mark. Julia Crerend '18 closed out the Mammoths' opening run, cutting to net and capitalizing on a pass from Maia Noyes '21 with 24:07 on the clock.
Tallying the first Jumbos goal of the contest, Emily Games converted on a free position shot at the 20:09 mark, however the visitors' score was almost immediately countered by Malone to make it 5-1.
Going on a run of their own, Tufts recorded five unanswered goals starting at the 19:27 mark to take their first lead of the day, 6-5, with 12:12 remaining in the first half behind scores by Games (3), Annie Sullivan and Catherine Lawliss.
The sides entered intermission with the Jumbos owning a 9-7 lead, as Fox and Isabelle Sennett's '21 goals in the final 10 minutes were offset by scores from Dakota Adamec, Caroline Nowak and Sullivan of Tufts.
Continuing to control momentum to open the second, Nowak found Maddie Norman for the marker 37 seconds into the half before Sullivan and Lawliss each beat the Mammoths' netminder to give Tufts its largest lead of the bout, 12-7.
Amherst began to claw their way back into contention with 20:07 remaining in regulation, as Cronin potted back-to-back scores with assists from Hannah Gustafson '21 and Crerend to cut the Amherst deficit to three.
An unassisted tally by Leah Ritterband '21 with 14:34 on the clock brought the Mammoths back within striking distance, before Cronin posted her third goal of the half to bring Amherst within one, 12-11.
Deadlocking the matchup at the 12:16 mark, Crerend drove a pass from Fox into the netting with a defender in her face before Gustafson buried the go-ahead score on a free position opportunity to give the home team the lead, 13-12, for the first time since the 15:23 mark in the first half.
Registering her fifth goal of the day with 9:09 to play, Games evened the score at 13 all in a bid to keep the Mammoths from the clinching the comeback, however a Ritterband free position goal at the 4:49 mark to put Amherst ahead proved to be the difference maker as the Mammoths' defense held strong in the final minutes to secure the memorable 14-13 victory.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Talia Land '20 (11-1) made six saves for the Mammoths in the winning effort, while Audrey Evers (10-2) recorded eight stops for Tufts in the loss.
- Junior Sabrina Solow led the Amherst defense with four caused turnovers and four ground balls, while Kat Krieg '20 impressed with three forced turnovers and four ground balls. Fox led the contest in draw controls with six.
- Amherst owned a 22-19 edge in shots on target and a 21-12 advantage in ground ball pickups.
- The Mammoths finished 17-for-20 on clears and 3-for-6 on free position shots, while the Jumbos went 16-for-20 on clear attempts and 4-for-10 on free position opportunities.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Today's game marked Senior Day for the Mammoths who will graduate five seniors following the 2018 season, including: attacker Julia Crerend, defender and captain Rowena Schenck, midfielder and captain Kelly Karczewski, midfielder and captain Dakota Foster and attacker Mary Grace Cronin.
- As a class, this year's seniors have compiled an overall mark of 38-22, a .634 winning percentage, with a 20-17 record against NESCAC opponents and a 19-9 record at home. During that time, Amherst has outscored opponents 607 to 426, has qualified for three NESCAC Championship tournaments, and earned a trip to the Third Round of the NCAA Championship in 2016. Congratulations seniors!